I wanted to share a picture with you that means much more than a picture. Allow me to explain.
I am transforming. I noticed when I took a picture last week after a beautiful box of citrus arrived from California to my Central Washington doorstep. While the tulips are just barely pressing out of our warming soil, a farmer in California is harvesting tangerines and Cara Cara oranges from their trees. What a delightful thought! This particular farmer that I order citrus from in the winter is always kind enough to put a few sprigs of stem and leaves in for me so that I can feel a sense of the tree while enjoying the fruit (if you're a gardener, I trust this makes sense to you). I'm not affiliated with him in any way, but if you'd like to enjoy some of his delicious citrus (though it is nearly the end of the season), here is his Etsy shop.
A few of the walnut sized tangerines really stood out to my photographer's eye and I had to carve out some time to capture their simplistic but over-the-top beauty. I can't help it. It's a compulsion. I feel food. I see food. I photograph food.
I yam who I yam.
Anyway. A bit of work and here are the beautiful tangerines:
I shiver with delight at this image. But even more than that, to me, it feels a bit transformative – in more than one way.
The first way is obvious – we are transitioning from winter to spring. I knew when this box arrived it would be close to the last for the harvest and felt equally saddened and delighted, as one always feels during times of change.
The second way is perhaps a bit more subtle. I am transforming. I can feel it.
Feeling a bit at a loss last week, and continuing to struggle with the grips of winter and entrepreneur/mom/wife/homesteader challenges, I lost it. I'm too embarrassed to even tell you the details, but suffice it to say, it was enough for a “losing it” to catch my attention.
My best friend encouraged me to pay attention. “I know what you'll do.” she said. “You'll work through it and carry on and pretend like it didn't happen. Don't. Listen to it. Your soul is trying to tell you something!”.
So I listened.
What is it?
Well, I hate to spoil the fun, but I'm not fully sure yet. The Lord is gently, and not so gently, opening doors, closing others, and working out his faithful will. Times of spiritual pruning are painful but they're also delightful.
Years ago, I stood in the shower sobbing. I was overworked, overwhelmed, and exhausted. We had been waiting on the news on if the Food Network was going to pick up our pilot television show “Homestead Table”. We had worked for years to get the show to this stage. The day it finally aired, I had strep throat from the stress of it all, and my beloved Grandpa passed away. I didn't even watch it.
Anyway, so I'm in the shower crying. My babies were much littler than and it was the only moment of solitude I could carve out to get real. I sank to my knees and I prayed to God to prune me. “I don't care what you have to cut out. I don't care how bad it hurts. I'm ready for whatever comes – please, God, prune me so that I can grow in love of Christ and others.”
I was sick of my voice. Of promoting myself. Of pushing our work so hard out there. Of trying to make it be something it wasn't. The Disney version of the farm… a farm with no flies. Where butter still comes in a store-bought wrappers and meat comes out of cellophane.
An hour later, my producer called to tell me that Food Network was not going to pick the show up. He was so defeated. “I'm so sorry.” he said. He knew how much effort and energy had gone into this moment.
I didn't feel defeated at all. I didn't cry, I didn't argue, I didn't even ask why. I raised my hands to God and said “THANK YOU!”. I was elated. A branch that we had been growing for years was hacked off in a moment. The pruning had begun.
These moments are essential.
So I say again, Lord, prune me. Prune away the branches that bare rotten fruit. Prune away the suckers taking my energy and distracting me from you. Prune away the dead branches that drag along the ground. Prune me so I can grow strong. Prune me so that I can bare good fruit. Prune me so that I can support the weight of the harvest and delight in the sun and seasons. PRUNE ME.
You know what pruning does, don't you?
It hacks away. It cuts back. It digs up. It peels away. It, at least at first glance, is a regression of growth. A damaging to the plant. A yanking back. Pruning looks like destruction.
(Trust me. I just cut back a wisteria and that entire process feels a bit like an exorcism.)
And so begins a pruning:
- of schedule
- 0f consumption of media
- of obligations
- of desires
We are, after all, building a life. A real life.
Onward and upward we go!
PS: I hope you enjoy the picture.