God’s Tree

Many years ago, I attended a certification course in Colorado, which was held at a retreat center. As part of our training we had to spend one day in silence… from the time we went to bed until 3 pm the following day; about 15 hours. During the time of silence, we were not allowed to utter a word… not even a ‘good morning’ to the other participants. It sounds easy, but it was truly difficult.
During the silence we were to walk the grounds, reflect, or sit in prayer or contemplation… anything as long as we did not speak.  Also as part of the assignment, we were required to write something about our experience. I kept trying to come up with some kind of ‘aha’ and try as I might, I kept drawing a blank. Until just before we came together to break the silence, that is. As I wandered the grounds looking at the magnificent evergreens, it struck me why we use the type of tree that we do for a Christmas tree. I am certainly not a poet, but the following is what I wrote.
by Janelle Breese-Biagioni
If I could be a tree…
which would I choose to be?
Would it be the mighty oak?
Strong, full of presence, capable of any task
Shedding autumn leaves, renewing in spring
Casting shade and shelter only to risk being split by unprovoked lightening
I think not.
Should I be a flowering shrub?
Petite, fragrant and full of colour
One who decorates and is adorned
My survival at the mercy of the caretaker’s hand
I think not.
Perhaps, I should be a monkey tree?
Needly branches curving upwards
like the spider monkey’s tail
Curious in design, a constant challenge for those who dare to climb
I think not.
What about the willow?
Bending softly, weeping eternally
Dancing leaves, sweeping the grass
Beautiful to see, fragile in essence
Scattered roots tangled in a mesh
I think not.
There is the ponderosa pine?
Tall, think, covering great distances
Dropping needles and pine cones to hide the ground
Unbalanced, bare on one side, not easy to climb
or worse, dead at the base before anyone reaches the top
I think not.
I think I shall be the evergreen spruce
Rich in colour, steady, never changing
Sometimes alone, sometimes in threes
Shining lights on Christ’s birthday
My base shall be full
extending to support those in need.
My branches shall rise,
spiraling from one level to the next
Circling, circling, reaching the top
creating a cradle for the Christmas Angel
Turning, spinning into one perfect branch
Uplifting, lifting, reaching for God.

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