This morning the work crew from Quality Tree Service in Georgetown showed up to begin the work of removing and pruning five trees on the church property. Most of them have died, which is a bit sad because they are mature trees. Three of these were around the former site of our church rectory, which we had to tear down in 2005 because of extensive mold.
Another tree in need of their attention is a one hundred and forty year-old maple that has lost a large branch of one fork. This majestic tree is one of the many mature maple trees on our property and in town that were bought and planted by the efforts of The Rev’d H. C. Webbe, who was rector of St. George’s in the 1860’s. Part of the work of the Quality Tree Service to safe remove the large branch that currently dangles two stories up held only by wires previously installed to strengthen the tree in the wind.
I must admit that the metaphor of trimming away the deadwood in our owns lives is a bit too strong for me, as a preacher and teacher to resist. As hard as it is to say goodbye to these trees that have added life, shade, and beauty to the world around them, they need, even for our future safety, to be removed. The same can also be true of some of the attitudes and behaviors we have grown and even encouraged in our life. We need, at times, to be ready to prune and even cut away those attitudes and behaviors that have stopped helping us be who we want to be, or worse, have actually begun to force us in the wrong direction. It can be hard to let them go, and sometimes it can be even harder to change. But new life needs room to grow.