Be Like a Tree

When I was a young girl, I used to love the apple tree that was in the horse pasture by our house. It had a low hanging branch that made it easy to climb. I would take my Nancy Drew book, jump over the fence, and then hoist myself up to sit on a limb, resting my back against the trunk. Reading a book while sitting in a tree was magical.

These days, I might sit under a tree with a book, but my climbing days are over. Still, trees hold an allure for me. I’d take a walk in the woods over a stroll on the beach any day. (Unless it’s February — then a stroll on the beach can’t be beat.)

The opening song in the Hebrew book of prayers, Psalm 1, tells me to learn from the trees.

“…be like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither…” Ps. 1:3

There are some instructions on how to be this kind of tree:

  • Get planted in a good place
  • Be still to let living water saturate the roots
  • Pay attention to the seasons
  • Graciously share what develops
  • Stay refreshed and vibrant

So I’m asking myself some questions:

  • Where do I plant myself most days? In ungodly counsel and in the seat of mockers (Ps. 1:1), or in God’s Word, meditating day and night (Ps. 1:2)?
  • What am I soaking up? Fresh springs of living water from the Lord, or the lifeless stagnation of worldly advice?
  • Am I willing to accept seasons of dormancy and stillness, or do I constantly push for peak productivity?
  • During times of prosperity and growth, will I be generous and eager to share, or will I hoard the bounty for myself?
  • As I grow older, how will I keep myself from withering up and being blown away like chaff (Ps. 1:4)? Will I abide in the Vine, remaining in Him, bearing much fruit (John 15:5)?

A children’s Sunday school song runs through my mind every time I read Psalm 1.

I’m gonna be like a tree, planted by the water,
Trusting in the Father to keep me strong.
I’m gonna be like a tree, planted by the water,
Trusting in the name of the Lord.
The deeper the roots grow, the better the fruits grow,
The blessings bloom out for all to see.
The deeper the roots grow, the more my life shows,
That Jesus is the Lord of me.

Integrity Kids Worship

What kind of tree will I be?
With over 60,000 species in the world,
there is plenty of room for variety.

I have no visions of becoming
a tall pine
or a stately oak
or a majestic redwood.
I would like to be an apple tree,
with a low hanging branch,
in a green pasture,
inviting small ones to crawl up
and sit a while with a book,
munching on the sweet fruit
of a life lived in Jesus.

Paving Paradise

What with VBS and a visit from the twinsies, I’ve been a little distracted lately.

Then PB kidnapped me and we gallavanted all over southern Wisconsin for a few days.

This morning I took our dog, Bo, for a walk around the block.

The landscape had changed.  We were shocked to see this:

tree2

And this:

tree4

And this and this and this:

tree3

Bo and I couldn’t believe our eyes.

tree5

I kept saying, “What happened here?”

tree6

And here?

tree7

Did a tornado rip through this one block?

tree8

Did a disease devastate these old shade trees?

tree9

Bo didn’t have any answers.

But the little flags and skinny sticks did.

It seems we’re paving paradise with sidewalks.

On a dead-end street.

Are these beauties next?  It seems so.

tree1

Is our street also on the chopping block?

tree10

Lord, have mercy.

“They took all the trees and put ’em in a tree museum.

And they charge the people a dollar and a half to see ’em.

Don’t it always seem to go,

That you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.

They paved paradise and put up a…..”*

sidewalk.

*Big Yellow Taxi lyrics