Thursday, August 18, 2011

Room to Grow

Over the past several years,  this tree has grown from a spindly random sprout into a giant, towering over my home. Countless hours have been spent in its shade, semi-secluded from neighbors, thinking, writing, reading, laughing, praying, crying, eating, wondering.

A few springs ago, I woke to a freak May snowstorm that had dumped a foot of heavy wet snow over everything newly green. My dear tree, my shelter from life's storms, had split down the middle.

A tree-fixer person gave me a plan to save it, which a friend executed. This tree has done much for me over the past several years as I've been learning to live alone. I will do much for it in return, to help it survive its own battles with whatever would threaten its existence.  
This afternoon, I got out my saw and removed chunks of the 18-year-old bench that had been installed a decade before this tree even dreamed of sprouting. Two other times I'd taken a sliver out of the bench, but recent growth had the tree beginning to dislodge the planks. As my saw bit through the final inch of lumber,
I swear I heard the tree sigh in relief.

My tree taught me that sometimes things need to be cut away, in order to give room to grow.

What in your life is squeezing too tightly?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Still More Joy

The power behind these words steadies me:

Don't postpone joy
until you have learned all your lessons.
Joy is your lesson.

~Alan Cohen *

I'm home now, after five days away--five days overflowing with God's transformative teaching. I'm unsure where to start this day, what task to put my hand to.  How do I allow what I've learned this past week to inform my daily life?

Still unsure, I listen. And listen some more.

Gratitude bubbles up for the beauty immediately surrounding me.

And I turn to this poem by Violet Ker Seymer, #16 in the Christian Science Hymnal:

As sings the mountain stream, Past rock and verdure wild,
So let me sing my way to Thee, Thy pure and happy child.

O boundless source of might, My praise must e'er increase,
For Love is Life eternally, Whose blessings never cease.

I sing my way to-day, My heart is joyous, free,
For what is Thine is ever mine, I find myself in Thee.

And I do find blessing. Peace. The courage to take one step forward, into this day.

* for a ridiculously wonderful overflow of joy, visit