Be A Tree

More than ever before, I find myself wanting to be like the trees I am drawing. They stand tall, firmly rooted no matter the ever-changing weather, bending however needed to the passing winds and storms, yet always growing, even blooming, despite their losses.

Yes. I’d like to be a tree.

But my inner life belies this stalwart image of rootedness. I can feel so unsettled, fearful, and confused amid the recent viral storm. I find myself reaching out for branches to hang onto as the winds blow.

When we consider trees, we often think of them in terms of seasons. Trees grow and change with each passing season. They add a new ring of strength around their trunks each year. And it is this that I hang onto as I think of what our current situation is requiring of us…this is a season, and it too shall pass.

Winter will clock over to Spring here very soon. Then Spring into Summer. We hope, along with Summer, that this virus will cease spreading, and that life can return to what we had thought was “normal”. We are all, in varying degrees, experiencing shock and grief over the loss of our normal everyday. But it is a season, much like Lent, and it will pass.

Yet also like Lent…we will not be the same after this season of fasting and difficulty. It remains to be seen just how different the fabric of our individual and collective lives will be once this virus has made its way through the world. We will look around at the devastation of not only lives, but also livelihoods, and a new normal will be established. The seasons will continue to come and go. There will be a lasting impact on how we view and live our lives from here on.

The wounded trees I draw have this in common: life continues to throb and burst forth from gaping loss. How this is, I do not know. But I want to be like these trees. I want that for you as well as for me. I hope to look around one day, hopefully sooner rather than later, and see all of us standing tall or perhaps a bit bent, with our various wounds and scars from battling the virus, yet growing, perhaps even thriving and blossoming into something completely unexpected.

I don’t know how this will happen, but it is our hope as we walk this Lenten pilgrimage through a forest of difficulty and uncertainty. The Master Arborist walks among us and with us through every glade and glen, every season and storm.

In this Forest I will gladly be a tree, come what may.

13 thoughts on “Be A Tree

  1. randamir says:

    So, so good. I’ve been looking a the trees out back at church and thinking that they’ve seen so much and will see more long after. Somehow that ‘stays me’. xxxooo

  2. Cathy edwards says:

    Trees are so important to my ability to ground down. I often use the tree as my image to help clear for other people. Seeing the light come down from the top of the branches all the way to the roots and
    Beyond to our beloved earth which carries so much of the humanity.
    Your words and drawings are such gifts Jennifer.
    Thank you

  3. Ruth says:

    I may be embarrassing myself here, but only a few years ago did I learn the reason trees shed their leaves in the fall – to lessen the snow load on the branches to prevent them from breaking. Am I the only one who didn’t know this? To me, trees are right there next to my fellow human beings, so precious and awe-inspiring. I love reading your thoughts about them. Thank you!!

    • Jennifer Edwards says:

      Oh my goodness Ruth! I had no idea if this before you sharing it here! An amazing thought…that trees purposefully lighten their load in order to ready themselves for the heaviness of a coming season. Lovely. Thank you for telling me!

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