Skip to main content

a divided tree



there is a tree in my back yard.  i'm pretty sure it's an oak tree.  at least that's what i think Shannon told me.  i don't know my oaks from my maples, my elms from my locusts.  to me, it's a tree: a corinthian column bursting up into life and glory.  full of sap and pulp and rings and bugs and cells pulsing with water and always reaching for something.  it is full of rhythm, reach and flourish then fall and die, and repeat. 

this particular tree, though, isn't of one mind. 

half of it's rusted orange leaves have given up their grip and surrendered -gracefully or not - to the pull of gravity and the threat of winter.  the north side of this inauspicious oak is just about bare naked, all sticks and straight lines, a skeleton of itself.  but the side that looks south is stubbornly resisting change.  no longer green, the leaves have compromised their summer vibrancy, but they are clearly not ready to concede death just yet. 

i feel like i can relate to this tree. 

i'm multi-sided.  i've got past and future, and they face different directions.  i'm in and i'm out.  i'm willing, and i'm not. 
i want to say yes, but i'm feeling over-committed. 
i'm ready for turkey and pumpkin pie, but i'm not ready for december. 
i want to be as passionate as ever about the steelers, but CTE. 
i want to work out, but i also want to watch tv. 
i feel strongly about an issue, but then i hear a different perspective. 
i'm certain i'm right, but then it turns out i'm not.
i do the things i don't want to do, and the good i want to do?  i don't always do it.
i want to be humble, but when i do something in humility, i feel pride about it.
i believe; lord, help my unbelief. 

i am the oak in my backyard.  i am north and south.  i am already/not yet.  i am still in process.  but i am alive, in the rhythm of this world, reaching out towards life and glory.  and i am learning to trust (again) that spring follows winter, that life follows death, and that God is good in all of it, for oaks and elms, locusts and maples, north, south, east and west.  into my fractured heart and into this broken world, God breathes new life.  and i am grateful.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

thankful right now

"if the only prayer you ever say in your life is 'thank you,' it will be enough." -Meister Eckhart

"thanksgiving is inseparable from prayer." -John Wesley

i've been thinking about gratitude quite a bit this week, and how to foster a thankful spirit in the midst of the barrage of bad news that for me is punctuated by yet another "breaking news" notification on my phone, interrupting the busyness of my day to rudely remind me that the world's brokenness knows nothing of limits or boundaries, not to mention my schedule or sanity.  still, the bad news keeps coming. 

i just scrolled through my most recent notifications just from the last few days and they contain phrases like "crimes against humanity," "57 million users hacked, but not reported," "alleged pattern of sexual abuse," and "extremely disturbing," just to name a few.  how am i supposed to be present at a staff meeting when my phone is buzzing …

why has this happened to me?

"why has this happened to me?"  that's the question that elizabeth asked, and it's the third question of my advent journey this year. 

you may remember that zechariah and elizabeth were living in the hill country of judea; zechariah a priest and elizabeth his wife, unable to bear a child, and they were, as luke is careful to tell us, "getting on in years."  we find that one day in the course of his priestly duties, zechariah's turn to enter the sanctuary and offer incense turns into a moment he would never forget, as an angel of the Lord appeared to him and told him that elizabeth would bear a son, that they would name him john, and that he would prepare the people for the coming of the Lord.  unable to process this increadible unbelievable news, zechariah is made mute until the day of his son's birth. 

the story moves ahead to elizabeth's sixth month of pregnancy.  zechariah is still unable to speak.  mary has had her own encounter with an ange…