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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.

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