After a long, hard winter, I am enjoying my walks this spring. The changes that I see around me are so visually stimulating on the heels of a rough, cloud-covered, Midwest winter.
As each year passes, I am experiencing God more and more through nature. In the past, my primary pathways to God were either through information or through relationships. Yet, there are so many ways today that God whispers to me through the natural world around me – making the natural, quite supernatural.
“Open my eyes so that my heart really sees” is my prayer.
Yesterday, I saw something profound happening to our maple tree.
A few years ago, my sister gave us a “tree cross.” It’s a small, ornamental, brass cross that is nailed to the tree. Very symbolic. It is amazing as to how the tree is responding to the violation of its bark.
The tree is enveloping the cross. It is becoming part of the tree.
I am fascinated. I did a google search on “tree wounds.” I found this statement by Wayne Clatterbuck, “When a tree is wounded, the injured tissue is not repaired and does not heal. Trees do not heal; they seal. If you look at an old wound, you will notice that it does not ‘heal’ from the inside out, but eventually the tree covers the opening by forming specialized ‘callus’ tissue around the edges of the wound….new wood growing forms a protective boundary preventing infection.” This activity is called compartmentalization.
The way the tree is responding is challenging my heart.
It makes me think about the wound that losing Leah has caused. Am I responding as the tree is?
I ask myself, “Will I absorb the wound in my heart?” “Am I sealing the pain?” “If I don’t protect the wound from infection, what will happen over time?” “Will the cause of pain go so deep that it can never be retrieved?” “How can I not become callus through this tragedy and still stay open to love?”
I don’t have all the answers, but I am asking the questions.
The natural tendency is to protect. Human bodies do it too. Our skin does something similar in absorbing slivers. If we don’t remove them in time, they go deeper into the body. Seems those annoying slivers just go deeper and deeper, if we don’t get them out quickly.
Like this tree, I am a living being who naturally does everything I can to survive.
Since this wound is becoming part of me, how can I absorb it so that it becomes something beautiful? So I thrive and not only survive.
For now, sharing my journey, talking about my loss and honoring Leah’s memory are helping me mend the wound.
To be human is to live with either the loss of someone or something we cherish. What wound are you absorbing into your heart? How is it affecting you?
Maybe this picture of my tree will inspire you to ask similar questions too …