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Sunday, February 7, 2010

How uniformity, efficiency and tidiness can stifle

A very quick drawing from memory of the hedge

The juniper “hedges” caught my attention last week as we pushed the girls in their stroller through a 50 year old stable neighborhood in California. They caught my attention first because they were the primary landscape structure in our first purchase 60’s house.

I can see that these owners, who could no longer garden as they once did, hired a “neighborhood gardener” who did not understand the habits of plants but just wanted to make everything trim. There were many undulating, squared edged long hedge-like shapes that once contained separate plants. In the center of one of the undulations, was a bright pink blossom, the bare remains of an engulfed suffocated azalea. The shocking scene was there for the sake of uniformity, efficiency and tidiness.

• Uniformity: In a garden and culture, it is easier to control through sameness. Beauty and life in both areas, however, achieves its fullness from diversity and freedom, which if we are not watching closely can disappear slowly and unnoticeably for the sake of control.

• Efficiency: It provides the space for creativity to happen but creativity does not happen because of it. In the garden mentioned above efficiency took away the space rather than enhancing creativity. (unless you might call this “hedge” creative)

• Tidiness: Clearing out all the dead matter and distractions that are not useful to the vision is beneficial in most ways. But when tidiness becomes the end not the means, creativity and diversity are as lost as the vision.

What is engulfing you so that you lose your identity, freedom and creativity? How can you get it back?

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1                         
 Lord set us free to be all that you have created us to be, by your grace.

Does this make sense?

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