Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“We need to find God, and He cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature — trees, flowers, grass — grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence. We need silence to be able to touch souls.” Mother Teresa
Ever climbed a tree?
I suspect you have. I hope you have.
It may be a time again to go climb a tree—in the very best sense of that expression.
As you ponder that for a moment, my seven-year old son’s smile continues to shine on me from a photo sitting a couple of feet from my shoulder. It’s a snapshot of him from more than thirty years ago, sitting at a juncture of two limbs of a giant oak tree in his Grandparents’ front yard (Lynda’s Mom and Dad). Next to it, a photo of Hannah, his daughter, sitting in that same tree years later and smiling much the same kind of angelic smile.
Located nearby those two photographs, sits one of Nathan taken twelve years ago today climbing a Lychee tree in that same front yard. A Lychee tree planted by his Grandparents when he was born and which he had grown up with, and sat in the embrace of her welcoming branches from the time he was old enough for me to safely place him in the tree.
As I reflected upon the memories captured by those pictures, a recent request of my younger Granddaughter Ellie Kate floated through my thoughts, asking me to help her up into the Crape Myrtle in our front yard so she could climb to a higher place…and just sit…to look, to wonder, to reflect, and to do whatever else goes on in that precious little brain. Or the memory of our dear and elder Granddaughter Hannah asking me for a boost up into the Magnolia in the back yard—so she could see across the fairway and beyond the neighboring yards and other places—to places far, far away.
Do you remember those moments from your childhood or maybe not too long ago? Times when you climbed or were helped to climb a tree. Times when you simply stood admiring the quiet strength and even majesty of a tree in your back yard or one you found standing somewhere along your journey.
There’s always something particularly peaceful, inviting and quiet, almost sacred, about those moments. Perhaps they start out as a part of childhood play or an adventure, as my bride Lynda found as a child when climbing oaks and orange trees on the family nursery where her home was located. And sometimes it became for her a place to hide, to get away from it all, to be by herself for a moment. And she’d choose a tree for her place of respite and refuge. They always provided a place of peace and quiet for her…a place of needed and always available security and reflection.
Like the one you may not have heard of that my daughter-in-law Amy found as a ten year old. A place of peace, refuge and reflection, hers was a pine tree which she had named after a friend of hers. A tree that Amy, as a child and by herself, would climb with regularity, a safe place—to sit, to think, to reflect, and perhaps even to dream.
Perhaps as Mother Teresa suggested, it is a place away from the noise and restlessness of our day-to-day lives…to find God. A place where we can reflect on the eternal and important things of our lives, rather than on the things which are transient and unimportant. To a place where we encounter God in the midst of all that is going on in our lives.
There’s something sacred about that experience as a child, of any age, of scaling the limbs of a tree to reach that firm resting spot high up in the branches. A moment amidst the branches waving back and forth in the winds that always seem to blow, that provides us with a much needed moment of peace, silence and quiet—a time of reflection, and refuge—and maybe even where we dare to dream about all that our life in the future will be like. Maybe even a moment where we are drawn closer to the One Who created it all.
A moment where—as we pass by branch after branch and limb after limb—we reach a place beyond where we were, and where we are, to where we begin to fulfill all the desires of our hearts. And perhaps through the efforts of our climb, as we attempt to reach for the stars, we will touch the face of God.
I wonder if such an adventure might just be a much needed antidote to all we are going through individually, and as a nation and world. To a place where we remember all that is, or should be, truly important in our life. To a place where we again have a fresh encounter with the living God.
It certainly couldn’t hurt.
For it would seem that anything that has the potential of drawing us closer to our Creator, and closer to all He created us to be, and be like—is worth the effort and worth the climb.
In His Name—Scott