The Bible has several references to trees being planted by water, surviving drought and heat, standing tall, etc. In and of itself, trees are not very animated. Oh, in the wind, they dance and their leaves produce songs. To me, being alone in my backyard, listening to the wind playing through the leaves is one of my favorite things because it calms my soul. Trees in my part of the world are not a natural occurrence. History tells us the majority of trees populating our landscape and our yards were brought in from somewhere else –transplanted. To survive our sometimes harsh summers, unbearable winters, constant wind, trees have to dig deep with their roots to reach a water source for survival.
Eighteen years ago, on a February weekend, my sister-in-law, Jimmie, shared a verse with me about being like a tree being firmly planted by the waters. The picture she had as she read this verse was like I said earlier –a tree with its roots firmly planted by the water source. She felt like this fit because the days ahead would be fraught with spiritual storms that would test my faith, so I needed to stand strong and steady like the tree. Eighteen years ago, those words were true as the storm did hit – literally and figuratively – taking my brother-in-law Jeff, Jimmie and their baby Jordan away from us. They may be gone, but those words Jimmie shared with me that afternoon are echoing in my heart tonight. Our family has endured more storms, trials, and hell over the past 18 years than I care to recall right now. Today, we are facing yet another test of our will and faith and fortitude.
I’ve added a few other images. Like I said — trees are not really animated, but they are steady. They provide shade from the heat. They provide a home for flying creatures, and they provide food. If you study the archetypal symbolism of trees, each tree tells a story. So, according to this symbolism, oaks represent truth, courage , nd wisdom. So back to what my sister-in-law said about me being a tree. No – I am not exactly the most animated person, but I’ve been known to by hyper at time. I did fall off my stool in my classroom last week, does that count? I would say I try to speak the truth and share wisdom. Courage – well – I suppose it takes courage to not give up. I feel like I am the one who needs to be that steady source of encouragement and shelter to my family when their world falls apart. I am reminded of an interview my older brother gave after returning from a dangerous mission in Vietnam. The reporter asked him “Were you scared?” to which my brother replied with a laugh and answered “Dude – you’d have to be crazy not to be, but I know where I’m going if my time comes. Pray less for me, but for those around me who don’t.” Pretty good advice. In the midst of this current battle, I’d say the same thing. Yes – I’m scared, but pray less for me, but more those engulfed in this battle. In the meantime, I’ll stay steady, strong, provide shelter, wisdom, truth and courage for those who rest in my shade.