Standing With The Trees

Maybe it’s because 13 years ago today I woke up never knowing what the week had in store, never knowing that in just 5 days we would be burying our son.  Ignorance is bliss.

Maybe it’s because this season is marred by so many anniversaries.  Anniversaries marking the passage of time from “the before.” Before we knew “that” grief, before we knew “that” fear.

Maybe it’s because I can identify with the tree, but I read this and I can’t get it out of my head. Beating like a drum…

All through the woods, the trees are letting go.

I told the Farmer on the way home from Sunday chapel—when we came up to the top of Bobbie Johnson’s corner, and just before he turned, where you could look long to the northwest and out across Gingerich’s cornfield to their woodlot with the embers of maple — that it was brave, the way the trees made dying look glorious.

How did you let go and relinquish glory and be willing to stand bare, straight into wind?

(How The Brave Deal With Losses, Ann VosKamp)

I read the rest of the article but I kept coming back to this, a question for the trees. How do you let go and relinquish glory and be willing to stand bare, straight into the wind?  It keeps echoing in my head.

So, maybe it’s all those things and probably so much more…

There are so many things that strip us bare, aren’t there?  Death and disease have both stripped me down and left me standing bare, and vulnerable, and exposed. They come like a thief in the night stealing away swiftly all that we have known and come to count on and love.

And I thought of this tree, letting go because that is what it has to do. The tree, no matter how badly it wants to, cannot make it’s leaves last another season. And my heart hurts for the tree and for what it is losing.

fall tree

And I thought of these words…

Love’s like a hurricane, I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight
Of His wind and mercy

The tree, beaten, bruised, and whipped by the wind. Bent and broken under the forces it endures, but rooted still…

How do we let go…of a person, of control, of a dream?  How do we let go and relinquish our beautiful leaves when they have reached their vibrant best?  But the Autumn tree, it lets go and I am reminded of the rest of the song.

When all of a sudden, I am unaware
Of these afflictions eclipsed by glory
And I realize just how beautiful You are
And how great Your affections are for me.
(How He Loves, David Crowder Band)

The glory eclipses the pain of affliction. It doesn’t erase it, it doesn’t negate it. You don’t forget, you never forget. The pain is still there but it fades under the shine of His glory when our eyes shift from “it” to Him.

My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever. (Psalms 73:26 NLT)

winter treeAnd so we trust. We trust that this isn’t it. This isn’t the end. We know that as trusters and believers glory lies ahead for us. Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. (Romans 8:18 NLT)

And we hold onto hope. Having hope will give you courage. You will be protected and will rest in safety. (Job 11:18 NLT)

While we may stand stripped bare, as autumn turns colder, facing straight into the howling winter winds remember the spring will come.

spring tree

14 thoughts on “Standing With The Trees”

  1. This was perfect timing. Thank you…
    And the dcb band and that song…I had almost forgotten such a well written song..your analogies of the tree and pain and hope brought tears to my eyes

    Thanks for writing this

  2. This is so beautiful Ashley. The image of a tree losing its glorious leaves at the end of autumn but regaining beautiful blossoms in spring is so thought provoking.
    Just last night, I was having a discussion with a number of my friends (on facebook) about assisted suicide and the word “suffering” came up many times. Seeing suffering through the eyes of faith made me realize how different I am to many people.

  3. Reblogged this on My Omer of Manna and commented:
    We’ve had our share of loss this last 4 years. Thank you for witnessing to ‘Godly perspective’. Still trying to work it out in my own life with Christ.

  4. Sometimes we don’t want to let go. Sometimes, we do but don’t know how. Sometimes we do know how but aren’t strong enough. Only our Heavenly Father knows our heart and when and if we need to let go. As long as you seek Him, and with time, He will reveal to you what you need to do and how to do it. And in return, He will give you the strength, the peace and the understanding of it all.

  5. Your sadness and faith come through in this lovely piece. May God keep you strongly rooted in Him and over the winter time of your life of loss, be filled with hope in the coming ofspring and new growth.

  6. Wow. Beautiful post. While on our morning walk, my wife talked about the changing seasons in our life. The summer of growth is now changing. The leaves signify a coming death — yet, there is still great beauty, color, and hope. Whatever season we are in — aging, loss, empty nest – there is beauty.

  7. Very pivotal and relevant. I enjoyed this post. We tend to see the seasons with winter as a time of death and fall/autumn as the last stages before death arrives but I am reminded that in order for trees to make it through the winter with the harsh wind and ice conditions, they must first lose their leaves and in that loss is the renewal as a tree readies itself for the coming spring even before the leaves begin to fall. 🙂 So no matter how hard we want to keep things “as is,” life will continue in the cycle. Blessings.

  8. Beautiful! I read that post too, was touched by it. I’m sorry for your loss, coming through so poignantly in your words. I cannot imagine that experience. My losses have been “normal…” father and grandparents and family…the “normal” order of life and death, living and loss. May you find peace and continue to share your faith as you did here so beautifully. ~ Sheila

  9. A much needed message for everyone in the world. I am deeply sorry for your loss, yet I admire you for turning your grief into an expression of acceptance and inspiration at the same time. God bless you and keep you strong.

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