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  • Writer's pictureBrian Reaves

Leave the Dead Things Behind You

Brian Reaves quote

Have you ever gotten frustrated working on something that took up too much of your time and gave you too little of a return on it?

When my wife and I moved into our current home several years ago, I noticed a hill next to the house that I thought would be perfect for an orchard. The first thing I did after we settled in was buy a bunch of different fruit trees and plant them all over that hill.

Over the ensuing years, I have gotten the chance to eat maybe a dozen figs, one pear, and a peach from all those trees. Some trees look the same as when I planted them over ten years ago. None of them have bloomed into anything remotely resembling what I had imagined, except for two plum trees that have grown huge yet bear no fruit at all.

The strange thing is that every Spring, two rows of about two dozen beautiful yellow flowers pop up in the middle of all my trees. I assume the previous owner planted them, and I have no idea what they are, yet they have faithfully grown up every year without my help.

Man tending the yard

A lot of things in our lives can be the same way. We toil hard and nurture certain things that never come to fruition, while other areas seem to just come to life on their own. Maybe we wanted lasting fruit, but all we are getting are temporary decorations. These areas of our lives can take away precious time and attention.

Then there are the hard truths we have to face sometimes: there could be certain areas or aspects of our life that are currently dead and have no chance of growth as they stand. Can you walk away from them?

I have seen so many people who devote themselves tirelessly to dead things in their lives. Maybe it's a personal or professional relationship that is over, but they can't accept it. Maybe it's an idea that seemed perfect at the time but has proven to be a waste of resources. Maybe it's just a season of life that is over, and a new season and direction has begun, but we just don't want to let go.

I recently watched a friend go through a very long, drawn-out divorce. The sad thing is that the marriage had ended years ago, and his wife had long since moved on, yet he just kept holding on to the dead relationship. I am all for having hope, but when circumstances you cannot control make success impossible, it may be time to regroup and rethink things.

Just remember that walking away from a dead thing doesn't mean everything is over in your life. Maybe one aspect has permanently changed. Maybe a relationship or career idea is no longer a possibility. None of that means it's all over.

Winston Churchill said, "Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It’s the courage to continue that counts." Look at the beauty of new beginnings and new possibilities ahead of you. Would you be better suited to cultivating those new things rather than toiling away at the dead ones?

Ultimately, I gave up on that hill by our house and found another one on a different part of our property to try again. This time out, I'm seeing some successful growth even though it's too early to see any fruit. For this place and time in my life, it is promising enough to keep investing my time in that area.

Don't let dead things drag you down and kill your momentum in life. Embrace the new beginnings life brings your way!

Brian name

P.S. Remember these words: “You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing that we call ‘failure’ is not the falling down, but the staying down.”

— Mary Pickford

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