God speaks to us in many ways but He particularly speaks to me through the trees. I think He always has, but it has taken me until recently to fully realize it. When I was little, I was irresistibly pulled to them…to touch their bark, to climb them, to swing from them, and to carve my initials in them. I think that I was pulled close by those desires, so that I might learn to listen.
They were once whispering, now they shout. I am finding that they teach me much in the mere wonder of their being. I am divining metaphors for living my life. Perhaps the Biblical reference to the Tree of Life is literal as well as symbolic…at least for me.
Trees speak to me about a good marriage. Just like a tree, a marriage begins as a very fragile thing. Some years it grows more than others. It must be cared for and watered consistently. It provides something to lean against when you are weary. It must grow strong roots, so that storms can’t topple or uproot it. It is something beautiful that God gave us to enrich our lives. Some seasons it is bare, but there is always the promise of blooms to come. Just like the Earth needs more trees…it also needs more good marriages
Trees speak to me about aging which is something I have always dreaded. As I look around at all the trees, I see the flexible little twigs of new growth that are all shiny and smooth and straight, but I find that the ones that catch my attention are the older ones….the ones that through the weathering of time have huge trunks that have become gnarled, and lightning struck, and have twisted branches growing in haphazard directions to find their way to the sunlight. I want to know how they got that way. They are by far the most interesting. Their strength is evidenced by their endurance. So too, with growing older. I must never forget the value that weathering life has given me, and that makes me feel better about the process.
Trees speak to me about the friendships that populate our lives. There are many types of trees…some prevent the soil from eroding, some to give us shade, some to give us playtime, and some to give us nourishment. Our world would not be complete without all of these types of trees. It gives our great outdoors variety. In every season, we have friends who sustain us, shelter us, play with us, and nourish us with their encouragement and they are all essential in the landscape of our lives.
Trees remind me that the exterior is not always a reflection of what is inside. What may look strong and impenetrable on the outside may be weak and structurally damaged on the inside. You can’t judge a book by its cover, nor trees or people.
Trees that have vines creeping slowly up their trunks remind me that there are people and forces that will try to smother us and we must continue to outgrow their influence as we move toward the light.
Trees remind me of of what can grow from a tiny seed with help from their Creator. Those who plant the seed may be providing the pleasure of that tree to another generation. That is also true of the seeds of all my efforts. I have to remind myself that I what I sow may seem small and inconsequential, but it may one day grow into something big and beautiful with God’s help and others may enjoy those fruits.
I am going to keep listening and try very hard not to miss this tree-mail from my Father in Heaven and the lesson that He is trying to teach me.
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
~ Psalm 19: 1-4