Must I Kill All My Little Darlings?

They are waiting for me, all my little darlings.
I have labored over them
as if in the pangs of childbirth.
I have nurtured them,
weighed and coddled them,
smiled at them and played with them.
They have grown and multiplied,
and though at times they are recalcitrant,
I have loved them.

How many must go?
Which ones are weak, superfluous, misplaced, unclear, redundant?

You know, Lord.
I approach them now as a gardener, not a butcher.
But it still hurts.
Give me clarity, give me fortitude.
Make me merciless, make me wise.
Supply boldness, supply discretion.
And in your kindness and creativity,
let every syllable that is trimmed, every phrase that is straightened,
be obedience to you,
a credit to me,
and a blessing to the reader,
in Jesus' name, amen.

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