Sunday, 14 September 2008

Small changes, radical effects

This morning started normally (well, it’s been ‘normal’ for a couple of weeks) with an early morning run. It was beautiful but not spectacular morning, with a tinge of pink in the sky and some small pockets of mist clinging to the hills. After showering and breakfast, normality was abandoned. We decided to opt out of church this morning. Instead we will go this evening to hear That Hideous Man concluding his series on Ecclesiastes.

This meant that we had a large chunk of a day with no specific plans, which also allowed some space for thinking.

Yesterday we went to visit my parents. My dad is finding it difficult to maintain his garden, and he wanted a small tree removed. So we took a variety of tools and gardening clothes with us to do it for him.

True to form it started to rain as the removal exercise reached the point of no return. So I pressed on, getting wet and covered in soil and mud. Every time that I have removed a tree or shrub I have the same experience. Eighty percent of the job is done fairly quickly, but there are always a few roots that are buried deep or are hidden away – and this is the bit that takes the time. Anyway, I knew that I was nearing the end, when my mum came out to give me a telling off – it was wet and I should come in. The first bit was obvious! The second bit was a judgement call – it was getting very wet, but I was nearly there. I decided to keep going, and a few minutes later the last root was cut and the stump came out.

Due to the weather, we weren’t able to complete the clearing up, but we’d done the important bit. My parents will be able to do some of the clearing up (I took away the heavy stuff) or it can wait until our next visit.

It was only after we had removed the tree that I realised how much of an issue it had been for both of my parents. Maybe it was just a generous display of gratitude, but I got the impression that this tree had been a major problem for them. Removing the tree did open up a bit more light in their garden, but for them it was as if the whole garden had been liberated from a shadow that had hung over it for years. What might seem to me to be a minor change, was for them a significant improvement, and had I given up they would have been left with their problem for a few weeks.

My conclusion – sometimes the biggest changes can come from apparently small adjustments.

By way of a postscript, I spent almost as long this morning cleaning up the tools that I as had used, as I did taking the tree out. But as I removed the grime, I was able to do some thinking and that can’t be a bad thing, can it?


nonprofitprophet said...

ER - it must also be a "small adjustment" for them as they age, to recognise that they are no longer able to do those things they once could, and to humble themselves to ask for help. Too recognise ones limited abilities due to the ageing process must be frustrating. And what a good son you are! ~npp

His Girl Friday said...

Hi ER,
there are a lot of bits of wisdom and parallels in your post. As NPP said with the ageing process and limited abilities; also that mums are always seemingly there to tell what you should or shouldn't be doing!!! ;)
Seriously, your description of digging out the roots, as in the removal of unwanted things/habits in your life can be difficult but with perserverance can be removed. Just a thought, anyway...

It's a blessing to be helped by others, but sometimes it's more a blessing to be the one doing the helping... :)

His Girl Friday said...

ps I just reread the post...the pain meds are leaving the head foggy, so sorry for the roughness with the presentation of thought! :)

Endlessly restless said...

Hi guys - thanks for the comments. My parents are adapting to the limitations of age, but it's a slow process - and at times hard for them to accept.

HGF - I like that idea of removing unwanted things needing perseverance. I might use that sometime!

nonprofitprophet said...

yes hgf, that was a neat comment, drug induced? lol ~npp

His Girl Friday said...

like totally drug-induced, man, ya dig it?! ;D

the whole tree/roots, removal of roots (bad habits), what fruit is your tree producing (good/bad, fear/love) is one of those analogies that TB uses a lot in his teaching/presentations. Using ideas from this analogy for various posts is, er, ripe for the picking... :)