Jun 042012

The messy, beautiful tree in our back yard

There is a tree in our back yard that makes a mess.  It covers our deck and fills our pool with gooey dead blooms.  It drops little bitty leaves like confetti, and occasionally lets go of entire dead branches.  It grows super fast, sticking its branches in unwanted places, like into the side of my house, above the chimney, or right over the pool.  It causes so much shade in places that it nearly kills the grass.

It is a troublesome tree.  I have to trim it back every year, yet I still tolerate it.  I tolerate it because I love it.  I planted it when it was just a baby.  I have watched it grow into a giant shade tree that makes a wonderful cool shade in the hot summer.  Its blooms provide a colorful splash of pink against the sky, drawing hummingbirds to the big dinner table above the rooftops.  Below it is my wife’s garden bench, a place to sit and rest a while.  A swing hangs from one of it’s large branches.  I love the tree, despite it’s faults.

Except for one who walked this earth over 2000 years ago, nothing in life is perfect.  Not a tree, not a person, not a church.  Too often I concentrate on the faults and problems and ignore the beauty in life.  I could cut the tree down and save myself some mess and trouble.  I could move to a place where there are no trees.  I could spend my life trying to rid myself of anything that causes me pain.  But I would miss a place to hang my swing.  And the beauty of the tree.

Dec 132010

One of my earliest memories is from when I was a very young boy living in Monroe, NC. It happened one night while I was laying in bed. I saw something that affected me so deeply, I still remember it.

I remember the bedroom was down the hall and to the left.  One night I was laying in bed, listening to my parents in the other room. I turned my head and looked toward the doorway. When I did, I saw what I assumed could only be my mother, standing in the doorway, looking at me and smiling. I called out “Mom?”  Then she disappeared.  I don’t mean she walked away. I mean, she disappeared. When my mother DID come to the room, it was apparent it had not been her.

I was only 4 or 5 years old. I was not on drugs. I was not asleep and dreaming. I don’t know who it was. I don’t even know IF it really was. I can only tell you that it looked so real and I have never forgotten it.

Now that I am older, I look back on that event and wonder about it.  If you were to press me, I would have to admit, I think it could have been an angel.  Some may scoff and say I was asleep and dreaming.  Others may say it was only my imagination; I was seeing things that were not there. 

Scoff if you will.  Think me crazy if you must.  I will easily admit that I don’t always see right all the time.  Even now, I will admit there are times I see things that aren’t really there.  There are also times when I don’t see things that are.  I don’t always see straight.  I don’t always understand what I see.  I don’t even always see what I think I understand.  Either way, I know there is more to life than what I can see.  And whether I see it or not, there’s something there.