The HedgeHunter 

The rear of our house backs onto a farmer’s field, separated by a huge briar hedge. After the triumph of finally clearing out our garage the other week I finally decided yesterday to tackle our side of the hedge which was now growing over the one storey extension at the back of chez Black which houses Hannah’s bedroom.

Having acquired ladders from some friends and made my way up onto the roof (a three part blog series in itself) I took to attacking the thorny branches with crazed enthusiasm. I was armed with razor sharp clippers (with Go Go Gadget telescopic arms no less) so imagined myself as Aragon (contractual Lord of The Rings reference) defending Middle Earth from the hordes of Mordor). If only….

More middle aged than Middle Earth. And less Mordor, more morbidly embarsssing. I no doubt cut a bizarre figure to our neighbours as I hacked and flailed until my aching arms cried no more. I sat on the ridge of the roof and took in the carnage around me as down below Charlie the border terrier looked up at his master with a mixture of bemusement and a dawning fear that I had finally lost my mind.


It was a messy job. A seemingly endless task. And a painful one as I repeatedly impaled myself upon thorny branches. But eventually my work was done. I dusted myself off and called down to Fionnuala to come out and hold the ladder so I could return to terra firma. Silence. Rather than be on standby to assist her heroic husband she had retired to the front of the house and was hence oblivious to my increasingly high pitched, but no less manly, cries for help.

Eventually after much trial and error and a few near death experiences I managed to gingerly make my way back down via a combination of the garden fence and the ladders. It was not a pretty sight and antybody unfortunate enough to have witnessed my descent will have been permanently scarred with an image that they shall take to their grave. I, however, felt much as Neil Armstrong must have done when he took his first steps on the Moon. Heroic, handsome, humble. I was none of these. But I had survived.

We are all experts at putting off the unpleasant tasks in life that require our attention. I am a world leader in making excuses especially when it comes to areas of home improvement where I struggle and always feels inadequate. However when I finally take to the task, as I have done with the garage and hedge in recent weeks, I have ended up getting satisfaction for stepping out of my comfort zone and having a go. I have also been pleasantly surprised (and Fionnuala and the kids staggered) by what I have been able to achieve.

Don’t put off until tomorrow what can be done today. Especially when it comes to matters of the heart. I have damaged many friendships irreparably due to holding grudges when instead I should have been reaching out the hand of reconciliation and forgiveness. Likewise I have allowed saplings of sin to take root within me and grow out of control until my very soul was suffocating within their grip, their thorns digging deep into my very essence.

If you recognise a problem or issue gnawing away at your conscience then don’t hesitate. Deal with it today. Now. Before it is too late. Comical as my tale may have been you don’t want to find yourself alone and helpless on the roof. For it might be too late. The thorns of life are vicious. They can cut your soul to shreds. And the soul is the most precious commodity you have. Protect it at all costs.

Matthew 16:26 – ‘What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?’

What home improvement tasks do you most dread?

What affairs of the heart have you been putting off that you could remedy today?

17 thoughts on “The HedgeHunter 

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  1. Great metaphor. I’ve always said, “Tomorrow is the magic land where 90% of the world’s productivity occurs.” Which unfortunately gives me an arbitrary excuse to do the same thing, procrastinate on important house chores (I’ve been painting the bathroom for two years and I’m a contractor by trade…). So I totally get it. Good stuff as always Stephen.

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  2. A timely affirmation of tackling the household chores and projects that I have neglected the last three years during my recovery. First, because I had no energy, second because of the time recovery work takes, and third because beginning to date my husband was more fun. Recently, I was realizing that I need to make our house more of a home and get it organized and clean. But I don’t really want to. Your post has given me a nudge, or maybe a push to just get at it!

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  3. Thank you for writing this post as well as the recent one on cleaning out your garage. Our home is clean, but cluttered. I’ve been meaning to get rid of the clutter for years, but become overwhelmed just thinking about it. Your posts have been inspiring.

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  4. Wonderful analogy, friend! Every time I get pricked by a thorn I’m reminded of the perfect world God created without them. It was Adams fall that gave us a fallen world, and the work we have to clear the thorns out physically and metaphorically. What love is this, that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us? We deserve the thorns, He never did. We deserved death, for the debt our sins accrue, but He lived a sinless life and took our debt on Himself. No greater love is there than this, that one would lay down His life for us! Thorns are such an excellent reminder, they were there at the fall and they were there on the cross. God bless you, friend.

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