Tonight I braved the streets of my shady neighbourhood for a walk.  I was feeling a little suffocated in my shoe box basement suite and I wanted to get out for awhile. I have a lot on my mind these days and find I have not been taking the time to just be still and think about things. I realized more strongly then ever tonight that I need time to ponder things the same as  I need to breathe. Perhaps we all need more of that in our lives and its not just me, I don’t know. I went to a park on the way home with a french vanilla I bought and sat on the swing there listening to it squeak every time I came swinging forward again.  I was just swinging, enjoying the cool evening breeze and the bright night when my attention turned to the trees in the park.

When I look at trees I don’t just merely glance as I once would have done. I really look at them. I study the leaves and the bark, I study the way it branches out, where it branches out, and I play the identifying game in my head. I spend a lot of time with people at my work who want to pick out nice trees for themselves or for someone else.  People will spend a lot of time humming and hawing over this, that and the next thing.  Even the people who don’t seem to know much about tree’s at all can still tell when one tree is uglier then the other and naturally they pick the better looking one.  I once spent two long sessions with a couple that was trying to decide what trembling aspen tree they wanted to get. They were torn between three tree’s and I sat listening to them critique each tree saying what they liked and what they didn’t like. They would try pull it away from the others to study its shape and size and occasionally ask me for my opinion for the second and third time.

Anyways, I was looking at these trees in the park tonight when one tree caught my eye. It was a tree that no one would ever pick if they had a choice between it and another one. It was practically growing sideways and I thought to myself, “that tree is ugly”.  The more I observed that tree I thought, “but that tree is alive…. and that tree has character”.  The more I looked at that tree I thought about how we are all like that tree. We’re not perfect but we’re still alive. We may not have grown the way we thought we would when we were growing up.  We may not have turned out the same way as the tree’s beside us but we’re still gonna be a tree and we’re still gonna make it even if we look a little different in the end because of how we’ve grown.  I often notice the tree’s on the boulevards out here in Calgary right now that have been ravaged by the ups and downs of Chinooks and snowfall through the winter. So many tree’s are missing leaves on the top branches but they are still alive and they still have leaves growing on their branches. They don’t look perfect but they’re still alive. They’ve had to go through some ups and downs in the winter but when summer time came again in the lives of these trees, they still mustered up enough strength to produce leaves and even fruit on some.

We all experience summers and winters, Chinook’s and snowfall, we experience -40 (k, maybe that’s just Calgary but you get it) and +30. Sometimes we get damaged through the winters of our lives and sometimes we can’t picture what summer looks like anymore in the stark winter landscape of our lives but by God’s grace we always do enter summer again and He keeps us alive. He makes it so we are able to bear leaves and fruit and He gives us a new outlook on life. He gives us back the color and warmth in our lives. It’s hard to be patient.  It’s hard to wait and it’s hard to believe your still capable of producing leaves and fruit when your living in the winter. We all have to wait on God’s gentle guiding hands. We all must pray and wait on the summers in our lives.  In every season we must praise God with all that we have and all that we are, even if we think we’re just some crooked funny looking tree.

This is the tree that inspired this post...

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