A few weeks ago, my uncles and grandfather cut down a landmark on the family farm.
It took a huge chainsaw and many days of work for many people to cut up the lengths and turn the tree into firewood.
I knew it needed cutting down. I’ve wondered when it would happen. It’s part of life and all that but I’m sad it’s gone.
That tree, the huge maple tree that stood out front of my grandparent’s house was an icon for me. It symbolized strength, family tradition in maple production and represented memories of happy play and changes to seasons.
I’ve seen it in all the seasons. Many summer days of my childhood were spent climbing that tree or running and playing in the shade of it. In fall we played in the leaves and climbed it. In winter we climbed it and jumped from its branches into the soft snow underneath.
There’s a memory of one uncle climbing with us, then pretending he was too scared to get down from his very high perch and many memories with cousins too young and too small to climb it. (How do you kindly tell someone they can’t do something just yet?)
I packed snacks from Grandma and armed with magazines or books to read, I hid in the branches for hours. Other times my sister, aunt and I would see if we could climb the whole way around the tree, with some rotten branches, it became harder in later years. I scraped my hands and knees. We played in the huge tractor tire sandbox at the foot of the tree.
I loved finding the little “helicopter” seeds. They were great to play with – dropping them from a high place and watching them spin and twirl.
I feel loss over that tree. Earlier this year, I visited the farm and felt a fleeting moment of sadness that the tree would soon be gone. I missed my last opportunity to climb it one more time. I failed to take one last picture of the tree. My niece and nephew and cousins, who are young, have missed the fun of climbing and gamboling about under its majestic branches.
That tree was like a friend. A dear, gentle giant that was always there. It’s gone now.
I’ve been reading in Ecclesiastes the last month, I keep going back to chapter three.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted; Ecclesiastes 3: 1-2
Trees don’t have feelings and they don’t have the same importance as people. But they do become part of familiar surroundings. And for all the loss I feel over the tree, I’ll be fine. It is much better that the tree be gone. In the grand scheme of things, the loss of a tree is not really that big of a deal.
Even though I was sad to hear of the tree’s demise, it was time. Aged, its huge branches become fragile and brittle with rot and disease. Its close proximity to the house posed serious danger with high winds or storms. Broken branches and its weakened trunk made it only a matter of time before it fell to much destruction.
Branches were trimmed many years ago for the path of power lines to the house. The beauty and our emotional attachment couldn’t make up for the real danger.
It was just a tree. But how often to do we keep the familiar, the things we love that cause us to sin and stumble and fail to trust God? What is endangering us, but because of it’s familiarity we ignore the real danger?
Again and again I’m reminded of my need to eliminate and purge distractions or things that pose danger to my spiritual life. My husband and I do try to purge out the material things we can easily recognize as unhelpful to our living for God.
What is not so easy to purge is heart thoughts. Habits, attitudes and reactions are hard to change. Ouch. There are things I need to work on. My worry and fear or self-focus when I’m in pain. In our church Bible study, Pastor reminded us of this passage:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
But we have God’s help to purge out the bad habits and sin. He asks us to give a complete commitment to Him. For all that He did for us on the cross – how can we not comply? What should you be making time for in your life? Are there things that need to be purged out? I have many in my life.
Thanks for reading,