Our home has a hedge around it. More properly, an English laurel hedge around it – which is to say “A hedge in constant need of trimming”. English laurel needs to be trimmed about twice a year to keep it from getting wildly out of control, growing up into overhead power lines and getting wide enough to block all the sunlight from your lawn, thereby killing all the grass. Such was the case with our hedge. I simply left it too long. About three years too long. Properly maintained, however, English laurel is a perfect privacy fence.
A few weeks ago, after returning from a camping trip, I decided that the time had come, I needed to bite the bullet and deal with the out of control hedge. So I dove in and started on the first stretch of the hedge, which is about 60 feet long. Armed with a set of fearsome loppers, two hedge trimmers, a chainsaw, and a pair of ladders, I dove in and began cutting. When all was said and done, I had taken about 12 feet of height off the hedge, about two feet off one side and three feet off the other. Now that I had several cubic yards of laurel laying on the ground, I fired up the chipper/shredder and ground it all up. In the end, it took two entire days to cut, four entire days to grind up, two trailer loads to the dump and two full yard waste bins to haul it all away.
The process was fairly miserable. It involved much ladder-climbing, stretching, and essentially laying across the hedge to cut it back. I had to cut about 2 feet off the outside edge where it had crept out over the sidewalk, starting at the bottom and cutting upward as high as I could reach, then cutting back down the same track, then moving a few feet down the sidewalk and repeating the process.
Once that was done, it was time to climb the ladder and shear about 10-12 feet off the top. Many of the stems were a lot closer to branches than stems and required the use of loppers, one at a time, in order to cut it down to the proper height. Then it was time to lean into the hedge and cut further across the top. This is where it really got fun. By the time all was said and done the hedge was indeed trimmed down, but not without a price.
That’s the result of the first half-days work. Beyond that, the bruising and soreness lasted far longer than a few scratches and slivers did. The exhaustion of spending 10 or 12 hours a day doing this was no small consideration either.
So what’s the point? The point is that things left untended, whether they are in your yard or your life will come back to haunt you. Had I done what I knew I was supposed to do three years ago and put in a single solid days work, trimming the laurel would not have taken over a week to accomplish and not had near the physical cost. More specifically, tend to your heart.
If you need to do business with God, do business with God. Like any loving father, God disciplines us in love and at times we can fear that cost and price, but the alternative is much worse. Likewise, God desires to bless us in ways that tend to our long-term good and it is this we should seek out. His pruning process is far more effective than mine on our laurel hedge and far more beneficial. Do not put off doing business with God.