Sunday, May 7, 2017

A Tree Of Our Own

Daily Gratitude Year 5- Day 127: Today, I am grateful for the trees we call "our own". 

I came across this image, and it made me pause. It struck a chord. My first thought was how good it is to have a tree of your own. 

I grew up respecting the trees. We have two we planted in memory of an older couple at church. "Uncle Henry" and "Aunt Wilma" Sheldon had no children by birth, but they loved the church children like their own. When they are gone, Dad planted trees that we called by their names in memory. 

I recall when Dad ordered tiny evergreens... that I spent days of my life watering... and they now line the lane of the homeplace. They years have been hard on them, but they stand tall. They were protection and helped slow the snows that would inevitably cover the long country lane in the winter months. 

The trees that were most dear to my heart were the three tall cottonwoods. A Morton building now stands in their place.  There were giants! They spent their days reaching to the sky as cottonwoods do, as if in worship of their creator. Yes, nature sings His praises. 

The three stood as sentinels guarding our country home. They stood strong and dignified, as soldiers tend to do. Then a wind would rustle their leaves and it would be a little like singing. I don't recall that we named them. We were too busy watching the squirrels play in the branches. 

The storms would come. There are always dangers with big lightning. Dad would shuffle us into the house and Mama would try to distract us from the big storms. She was afraid, but never let it show. Lightning, although I loved the light show, offered some dangers. We would hear the crack and the boom and see the flash. 

There is a sound that is hard to describe. When lightning strikes, it does so with unique power.  And strike it did. Three times, that I recall. One by one, our giant cottonwood trees were struck. It was was if they were giving their lives to protect ours. They became the target, sparing other things. I remember the sadness at each loss. 

The cottonwood will never be coveted for it's wood, but it is not worthless. On no!  They grant their shade, their limbs that welcome wildlife to rest and play... and be remembered for their sacrifice when lighting strikes.  

This image is a cottonwood that has been struck by lightening and "bleeds". It is an unusual phenomena. The tree experts can explain it, but that doesn't change the awe in seeing it. 

I am reminded of three wooded crosses on a hill. The one in the middle bore the miracle of redemption on its limbs. The blood ran down, covering the sins of those who choose to look and live. The Old Testament and the New fit together like a puzzle. Their history told of the time they had to look and live after a snake bite or refuse and die. 

So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.-Numbers 21:9

God continues to hate sin, but he loves sinners. He longs to rescue them for new life. 

No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, -John 3:13-14

Good morning Earworm. It has been a while. Ray Boltz song "The Perfect Tree" is perfect for today's gratitude. 

The perfect tree grew very long ago,
And it was not decked with silver
Or with ornaments of gold
But hanging from it's branches
Was a gift for you and me
Jesus laid His life down
On the perfect tree

 As our cottonwoods by God's design sacrificed their lives to protect us, so did our Savior give his life. That we might look and live. God grew the tree that would bear his son and his son would bear the sins of the world.  

Today, I am grateful for the trees we call "our own". 

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