Dead wood in our lives


We cannot banish dangers, but we can banish fears.
We must not demean life by standing in awe of death.
~David Sarnoff

Tanner and I have been regularly walking the neighborhood since March. During one of our spring walks, we rounded the corner to find a casualty of one of our violent Midwest storms. Not sure if it was from this year’s spring outbreak or last fall/winter, but the result was the same.

Dead wood.

Spring growth was attempting to cover up the death toll, but even though the surrounding trees appeared unharmed, my eyes insisted on looking only at the dead, brown focal point. The land is a nice piece of property; a corner lot with lots of mature trees. It would be a wonderful place to build a house, raise a family and enjoy life. I can’t help but think if someone would cut up and haul away that dead tree, others could easily see the potential.

Tanner and I are still regularly walking the neighborhood. The dead tree is still there…its dead wood still the focal point of the frontage.

It’s to the point now that the dead wood has become an expected part of this piece of ground. It shapes the character of the lot even though it adds nothing of value to it. It’s been there so long now, it looks like it should be there. But we all know it shouldn’t.

Much like the dead wood in our lives. Yes, you do know what I’m talking about. Those things that are laying around in our brains but serve no useful purpose…except to take up real estate in our hearts and minds. Bitterness, disappointment, pride, pessimism, resentment, insecurity, unforgiveness…it’s all dead wood that’s keeping the healthy, beautiful new growth from being the focal point of our attitude.

So when are we going to clean out the dead wood in our lives so we can focus on the new growth? Trimming and hauling away all the stuff that adds no value is hard work. It’s hot. It’s messy. And there’s a good chance we’re going to get a few splinters and scrapes while dragging it to the shredder. But clearing away the dead focal points of our attitude is vitally important if the surrounding, healthy parts of our lives are going to grow and flourish.

Let’s not allow the dead wood that has accumulated from life’s past storms steal our focus from an otherwise beautiful future.


3 thoughts on “Dead wood in our lives

  1. Sometimes when you write a post it is like you know what is going on in my life that exact day…….there is far too much deadcwood hanging around in my mind and heart….but without your words I wouldn’t have recognised it as such….thank you……your post was just what I needed. And hey…..I am sorry that even though I am on your side of the pond right now we are just too far away to meet up…….but we are at least posting/commenting in the same time zone ( or there abouts 🙂


  2. It is true, it is far easier to collect that dead wood than it is to clear it out. I have been working on that clearing out for awhile now, with some slow success. I have ridded myself of the lingering hurts from those now in the past – now to rid myself of those “could’ve, should’ve done this better” bits of dead wood. Your words are wise, which is not unusual for you.


  3. What a beautiful metaphor for something that is often very hard to do. So many people insist that we clear away what is deemed “dead wood,” but I think sometimes recognizing it and living with it – but not focusing on it – may be the better option.

    We have so much more space in which to maneuver than we realize. “Clearing out” isn’t always the necessity we make it out to be. At least, not clearing out to the extent that some wish for us.


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