What We Do With It
One of my neighbors used to have a beautiful tree in her front yard. Her Dad had planted it for her when it was nothing more than a twig and for years it seemed to barely grow at all. Yet, after a time it started to shoot towards the sky with amazing speed. Soon it towered above her home and blessed her with cooling shade in the Summer and glorious, golden leaves in the Fall.
When the two day blizzard from Hurricane Sandy struck our town almost 4 feet of wet, heavy snow fell on the tree’s limbs that were still full of leaves. The weight was overwhelming and split that lovely tree down the middle. It was so sad seeing half of it laying on the ground after the storm. When I talked to my neighbor later she said that the damage had been too much and that the entire tree would have to be cut down. Thankfully, she had saved a few saplings from it that she hoped to replant in the future.
Still, it was a shock to drive by her house the other day and see nothing but a stump in her front yard. I missed that tree. I missed its beauty. I missed its leaves shining in the afternoon sun. I missed seeing its limbs reach towards the heavens. I thought that the stump would be a sad reminder of it’s loss for a long time to come. My wonderful neighbor, though, had another plan. When I drove by her home today I saw a tiny bird feeder sitting on that stump and a colorful songbird having its dinner. It was such an affirmation of life. It was such a joy to see. I could feel my heart smile.
Life by its very nature is a mixed bag. It hands us both beauty and tragedy, love and loss, pleasure and pain. What we do with it, however, is up to us. We can let is split us in two, or we can use even its hardest times to make our souls stronger and our hearts more loving. We can spend it complaining or we can use it to help others, share God’s love, and make Heaven smile.