Lessons I have Learned from a Tree on 11/26/13.
Believe you me, I’m no writer, but this is something i want to write down because it just blew my mind when i realized how much we humans can relate to a tree!
My earliest memory of this tree was when it was just a wee little tree, much shorter than my current height. It’s original home was across the street, near the entrance of the court i live in. But my grandma, being the bold woman she is, just one day decided to uproot the tree and plant it into the dirt patch right in front of our house. I remember this day, which means i was older than 3 (since it’s in my memory and humans are incapable of remembering anything before the age of 3). I think that this tree has been growing in front of our yard for at leeeast 15 years.
Over time, it became a monster tree! The growing roots started to shift the sidewalk concrete up (you can kind of see it in the second picture, where there is shadow on the sidewalk in front of the yard). My dad heard a story from someone that they got sued by someone who got injured in front of their house for some reason, and he started to worry that the same might happen to us (like if someone were to trip on the uneven concrete). He took all the precautions he could think of to prevent that from happening, but as the uneven concrete kept moving higher, then came the day when he decided that it was finally time for us to rid of the tree and its powerful roots altogether.
Cool story grace, so what?
SOOO, these are some of the things that i’ve come to realize through this whole ordeal.
1) …Over 15 Years Ago
My grandma had no idea what it would become. She had no idea how much effect it would have over time—especially not over 15 years later. There are certain things that we move/allow into our life, oftentimes they are sins, that when we first allow it, attempt it, try it, do it, it seems harmless. Sometimes, it actually seems nice or feels good. After moving the little bush of a tree into our yard, i’m sure that my grandma/family looked at it and thought how nice, now we have a cute little tree in our yard! With sin, it might seem pleasurable at the moment, but sometimes it is difficult to grasp the weight of it until later. Until then, it just grows, and grows, and eventually will affect other areas of our life, as the tree’s roots did to the sidewalk concrete. And it is a harmful effect.
2) The Root of the Issue
In this case, we were literally dealing with roots! It wasn’t enough to simply trim the tree’s branches or even cut down the top half to make it look smaller. As long as the roots were there, they would keep growing, the concrete would continue to shift, maybe even start to affect our neighbors’ properties, and the issue would not only remain, but grow! Likewise, real issues in our lives cannot be dealt with so simply. We can’t just try to cut out certain things that seem like it would help, or downplay it so we fool ourselves to think it’s not that big of a deal, and maybe even fool others as well. It might “work” for the moment, but we (and maybe even our “neighbors”) will continue to feel the effects of it as time passes. We have to search deep and get to the root of the issue, the heart of the matter. It is this way and only this way that issues and sins can be uprooted from inside our hearts and out of our lives. Then, we can usher in the healing process.
3) How Many People Does it Take to Completely Remove a Tree?
This whole tree removal project involved three men that were up for the job. Actually, it IS their job, so they had to. But, this is the same case for when we are in the process of dealing with issues or sins! We cannot do it alone, and we are not meant to do it alone! There must be other people involved, praying on behalf of us, encouraging us, keeping us accountable, feeding us with the Word to relay what God wants to speak to us during this time, etc. Actually, when we see a brother or sister going through this kind of process, we should get involved. But not out of obligation or because we’ll get monetary compensation in the end (which we won’t… lol), but out of Love and grace. And the most powerful help that we get is from The Helper. This is the Holy Spirit, whom God sent, and whom we have living in us once we believed. The Holy Spirit is alive in us, to convict, to empower, to encourage, to strengthen, to reveal, to guide. And the thing is, the Holy Spirit doesn’t leave us when this uprooting process is over, it helps us heal and restore. It is always with us.
4) Bumps, Hurdles, Obstacles
During this whole process, there was another issue to deal with. There was a large piece of concrete next to where the tree was planted (not the previously mentioned sidewalk) that had become uneven as well. It was decided that the tree removal guys would also remove it off the ground and take it to the dump for us (with a small cost). But in order to remove it, they had to break it into smaller, less heavier pieces. They started to try to break it apart, but quickly realized that it was no easy task. They also discovered some kind of bar inside it that was making it more difficult to break apart. I was watching from a distance, and it seemed like they were rethinking if they can even finish the task, and jokingly passing off the large hammer to each other to give it a shot. One of them even yelled out to me “Okay, your turn!” HA!!! I politely declined. I mention this because I realize that getting to the root of issues and dealing with sin is not an easy process. It’s difficult to even acknowledge and/or commit to dealing with such tough stuff, but if/once the process begins, unfortunately it’s not smooth sailing. There are good days, and there are bad days, there are encouraging moments, and there are times when it gets so hard you forget why you even started in the first place. I was comfortable with where I was. I’ve been dealing with that issue for years, and I’ve gotten pretty good at brushing it under the rug. My sin isn’t thaaat bad, at least not compared to what that other person has been struggling with… now THAT’S a terrible sin that has gots to go. In God’s eyes, sin is sin. In God’s eyes, His heart breaks when He sees His people continuing to live as if they are still bonded by certain chains, when the reality is that He has set us free through His Son Jesus Christ. So expect obstacles, don’t listen to the discouraging lies of Satan, and don’t give up. Remember, we have THE Holy Spirit as our Helper, even in the toughest of times.
5) Wow, What a View! What a life.
As you can see in the picture, with the tree completely removed, what a clear view you have of everything that was behind the tree! That house! That car! That portion of the sky! In sanctification, we gain clearer vision to see what we couldn’t before, purity, healing… we can love better and live better, and we become that much closer to becoming like Jesus.
Oops, this was longer than I expected. If you actually read through it all, you really truly deserve something nice. I apologize for my numerous grammatical errors, and I am already embarrassed. But this is what I’ve learned this morning from this tree. All of this is easier said than done, easier realized than carried out, but thanks be to God for His grace, mercy, patience, and love… thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Good bye, Tree. You will be missed.