From little conkers…..

I did some gardening on Sunday afternoon. I wasn’t planning to, but I went outside for a moment, and noticed something growing in the border that shouldn’t be there. It was spindly, about eighteen inches high, with fresh new leaves unfurling at the top, and I knew exactly what it was. So I got a trowel, and with a bit of persuasion I hiked it out, and attached to the bottom as suspected, was a conker – it was a baby horse-chestnut tree. I felt around in the soil, and unearthed a further five conkers, all beginning to sprout. I remembered lessons in school about seed dispersal – this was obviously a squirrel’s stash! With an eye now tuned to horse-chestnut saplings, I soon spotted another, and another. Each one had once been part of a squirrel’s larder, now long forgotten – I wouldn’t have minded so much if the squirrel had returned and eaten them before they had sprouted! I spent about an hour pulling out horse-chestnut saplings, because I knew that the longer they were left, the bigger they would grow, and the harder it would be to get rid them. If they were left undisturbed, in a few short years my garden would be full of horse-chestnut trees with room for nothing else. The old saying ‘Mighty oaks from little acorns grow’, is true too for huge horse-chestnut trees that grow from little conkers!
Our lives can be a bit like that. We can allow things like bitterness, selfishness and unforgiveness to grow in our lives, but the longer they grow, the harder it is to eradicate them. The more established they become, and the more space they take up, the less room there is for good things to grow. If we choose to pull them up the moment we recognise that they are there, and before they are too firmly rooted, the less effort it is to eliminate them, and the easier it will be to tend and nurture the beautiful things, like patience, grace and generosity, that I’m sure we would all prefer to be growing in our lives.

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