Lessons from a tree


I am grateful for my Christmas tree and the beauty it gave this Christmas season. All good things must come to an end, though.  In a brief window of beautiful weather I decided to haul my live-but-near-dead tree to the disposal site a couple of blocks from my house.

The sun was shining, the sky was blue and there was a crisp-ness in the air that beckoned me. I jerry-rigged two bungee cords around the bottom of the tree and tied a knot so it would keep hold.

The tree and I began our adventure. The trip, surprisingly easy at first, proved to be anything but in just mere minutes. I started to sweat. My legs started to burn. My hands cramped and I had to switch from right to left time and again to keep a good hold. Not 1 block in to this escapade all I could to was to keep one foot in front of the other, praying for it to be over quickly. Right, left, right, left, right, left…

The effort required to get from point A to point B became quite the struggle. I didn’t take notice of anything or anyone. With head down and breathing ragged I just wanted to get that blessed tree to the drop off.

I finally I did and untied the rigged cords, put the tree among the pile of remnants and took a deep breath, choking on the whiff of all the other trees as it smacked me in the face like too many pine air fresheners in a car.

I started back to the house. Legs recovering from the burn I was walking easier. Now that I had no burden to bear, I looked up and saw the purest blue sky with no clouds, birds singing and playing, and had the ability to make eye contact with passersby.

Thanks to my Christmas tree I had an epiphany. That little adventure was a picture of what struggle has looked like in my life the past couple of years.

Life happens and I learn to cope with its extra baggage. I drag it behind me like a ball and chain, learning to cope with its added weight. At first the path I am walking is normal but within a short period of time the weightiness takes over.

Weariness…fatigue…frustration…fear…loneliness…emptiness…every emotion and feeling all become my closest companions and cause me to wonder if this struggle will ever end. In the midst of struggle, my head is down. All I can do is keep one foot in front of the other. Right, left, right left. Are we there yet?

Leaving my job at the end of November is the equivalent to dropping my tree off at the drop site (minus the pine scent). I untied the burden of it.  I feel lighter. I can breathe easier. I have tremendous peace that continues daily.

In the weeks since I left my job I notice my head isn’t down anymore. I am taking notice of everyone and every thing. I am looking for ways to serve and bless. Knowing I don’t know how to “be” well, I am perfecting that art. I am creating and enjoying the extra time for artistic expressions of all kinds. I am nesting. I am enjoying God and what He is showing me in this new found freedom. I am honored to know Jesus as provider, sustainer and lover.

Life is a struggle. You are either in one, coming out of one or nearing one. I can honestly say I am grateful for the struggle. It has changed, challenged and charged me in ways I never would have imagined. I am reminded by my inabilities and weakness and am comforted and held by His perfection and strength.


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