Guidelines: Busted Burdens


By Simon Ambit

I recently pruned a peach tree for a neighbor. The tree had been so abundantly laden with fruit that some of the branches had been torn from the trunk. Upon closer inspection of the tree, I found that there were other issues as well. In an effort to keep some of the auxiliary branches from breaking, ropes had been tied from the smaller branches, back to the support of the more mature branches.

The ropes had been placed and forgotten. Over time and multiple seasons, the branches of the tree grew and matured, increasing in size and diameter.  The once supportive ropes; therefore became an ever tightening band of tourniquets.

Both the supported and the supportive were once healthy enough and strong enough to let go and stand on their own. Yet there they remained, bound and restrained with the ropes. The ropes had cut off needed nutrient flow and the limbs were now dying or dead.

I find a couple of life lessons from this experience. First, if the branches had been thinned of much of the fruit early on, the fruit itself would have been bigger and the branches would not have had to bear the immense weight of the high volume of fruit. In this way the branches would have had less chance of failure.

Secondly, once the ropes became obsolete, they should have been removed. This would have allowed both the mature and the younger limbs to grow unrestrained.

I wonder if in life, that maybe we often spend much effort holding on to too much of the fruit of our labors, or if we allow ourselves to support or be supported by something or someone far too long. Are we allowing ourselves to carry too much burden, do we lack the ability to trust, do we need to simplify and have less in our lives right now? If so, we need to make the change before we crack or break.

Are we slowly creating a situation that, in the end, is going to cripple some part of us? Do we continue to tie ourselves to aspects of our lives that are slowly doing us more harm than good? Could it be time to change?

Let us learn the lesson of the peach tree. It is true that we all have burdens to carry. The result of that burden can be sweet and wonderful, but let us not carry around that which is going to have an ill affect upon the harvest and potentially break us.

We all have times that we need to help and support others and to be strengthened by others in return. However, there is a point where we must undo the rope and allow those under our support to go and grow, otherwise we run the risk of creating a tourniquet for all parties.

Life is good, enjoy the fruit of your labors!

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