One of the first things I thanked God for when I moved into my cozy-cottage home was my gorgeous pear tree out front. It was spring, and a cloud of white filled my picture window with lush blossoms… so wondrously close I could almost touch them through the glass. It felt like He’d planted it there just for me…like a perfectly-jeweled detail He knew I’d love…and reminded me of the feeling of awe I had as a child, looking at a slide through a 3-D viewfinder. And of romantic old movies where the starring couple crosses the threshold of their first little English cottage together, complete with picket fence and sweet blossom tree… Similar beauties circled my cul-de-sac, one in front of each home, but the shape and size of my landscape area brought mine right into my living room, catching my breath with its splendor each time I entered.
I’ve watched and reveled in each stage…looked forward to them every season — full bloom, showers of snowy blossoms dancing and billowing on the breeze, shiny new green poking through more and more — asking God to make it last… just a little bit… longer.
In the summer, I’ve loved to sit and watch the sunlight making its way into my home through the leaves waving in a breeze… little points of light flowing moving patterns each late afternoon on my furniture and walls and giving me the sense of sitting somewhere by the water. Or in a high-ceilinged chapel, watching light-play splash stain glass colors all around me.
Each fall brought a flame of bright orange to lift my heart while winter snow gave me crystal-encased branches and crimson cardinals joyously springing from branch to branch.
Then… several windstorms blew out of nowhere, ferociously ravaging the trees around the neighborhood, dropping huge branches much too close to the homes, blocking the road… until the association made their decision. All trees must be uprooted and replaced.
But…but…but… I wanted to protest. Mine is still perfect. Not one branch has come down.
“Its so amazing…,” my neighbors would say, “how perfect your tree still is! It’s the only one that hasn’t been touched!” I’d think to myself how I had always prayed for God to hold my tree up in the storms….and protect all our homes. Somehow I just knew He had. Like a gift.
Spring came and we still had our trees. I rejoiced again in my beautiful blossoms…but I knew…they were doomed. Maybe they’ll leave mine until last, I reasoned against reason. I mean…replace and plant all the rest first.
Last month, I woke to the horrendous sound of wood cracking…machines grinding… and a sick feeling in my stomach. They were starting on the trees…and…felling mine down FIRST! The workers met my eye as I opened the blinds and saw them. What can we do, they seemed to say wordlessly. It’s our job.
Murderers…Mutilators, I silently accused. Unreasonable, I know. Strange too, because I’ve never been that much of an environmentalist. But…I guessed I’d seen just one too many personal storms lately. This just seemed like one more crushing blow.
Now I won’t see it burst into one last radiant glow this November, I grieved silently. Soon, it was nothing but an ugly stump. Wood chips covered the road and spilled its devastation like layers of dirt on everything green.
Sometimes the old has to give way to the new…replenishing new hope… a thought whispered.
Within a few days, after much excavating and endless dirt and teeth-gritting noise, spindly new trees perched in front of each of our homes…like matchstick trunks stuck in the ground and tiny-leafed branches waving in the breeze. Sun blazed into my living room with nothing to block or soften its intrusion…forcing me to shut my blinds against its blinding light earlier and earlier each day.
Look for the new beauty that is just beginning… came that whisper again.
O-kay… I grudgingly sighed.
Today, I walk around the neighborhood, soaking in the last of Indian summer sun…notice these new trees turning more and more to red.
Hmmm…. more scarlet, my favorite fall color…and earlier than usual for our street…
I sit in my wing chair and watch the winds blowing my new Charlie Brown pear tree…see the sunlight glistening on the miniature green leaves… making them look clean and fresh and always gleaming. And daily, as points of red lights up the branches…here and there… red and green, like Christmas.
New beginnings… new chapters… more joy to come in this new season… comes the whisper…
Sometimes the winds must come…the past must close…so a new, fresh light can burst forth. Hmm… O Lord, I pray… let there be new joy for me around the corner from this present life storm…
There is… His promise blows across my soul. Lifting my heart like a breeze to a balloon.
I watch the red blooming more and more on my new little tree. “Hope!” it says to me now. Hope is believing what you can’t yet see.
I give the promise of new blessings ahead for you, He whispers then.
Thank you, Lord… I breathe, watching the new leaves glimmer on the breeze, like little stars of hope.
Has God ever brought hope to you in unexpected/unwanted changes?
© Pam Depoyan