Every June, I feel convinced that June is the most beautiful month. Cool mornings, rich with sunshine flooding through the green-yellow of new leaves. Birds, chirping danger when someone approaches their nest. Garden rows of new plants, magically doubling in size every week.
Then, every year, October hits. And I wonder how I could have ever rated June at the top.
This week, I took a walk. I didn’t expect the scenery to be particularly splendid, because by now many leaves have fallen from the trees. After all, it’s November. And as much as I enjoy Thanksgiving, November just isn’t the same as October.
I walked out the back door of our house, and down the alley full of pot holes. I crossed Third Street, and walked east on Jefferson Street toward the river.
I was nearly at Main Street when I walked under a tree that stopped me cold. Now, isn’t it the strangest thing in the world, that you can walk down a street a hundred times, and never notice a thing and one day be stopped dead in your tracks by that same thing?
A birch tree. Just as quiet as you please, standing there by the sidewalk. Around its trunk, papery bark curled like a thousand artists had labored over it, willing it to have just the right balance of symmetry and randomness. Above and around the curled paper, a crown of radiant yellow leaves still held strong through the last storm and wind. I almost couldn’t take in that tree. I took a photo, but photos are so inadequate.
I crossed Main Street, and then crossed the Elkhart River on the lovely wooden bridge, then crossed over to the island on another bridge. On this second bridge, I stopped to watch sunlight falling through green yellow leaves, above the gentle ripples of the water. How could I have thought the beauty was gone?
At the end of my circuit through the park, I found sunlight again, this time falling through the brown wispy tops of ornamental grass beside the walking path, against a background of dark evergreens. Just as quiet as you please, waving in the light breeze.
Those grasses didn’t know I was coming along that afternoon to take a photo of them. They didn’t care. They were just holding out there, praising the Lord. My presence didn’t affect their performance. The same with the birch tree, and the water under the bridge.
Recently, I was convicted of an area of pride in my life. I thought that I was being negative about myself. Well, I was. But God helped me realize my true issue. I was so proud that I couldn’t stand the thought of showing others my failures.
Oh to be like that birch tree, or that water, or the tops of those grasses! To stand in lonely places without a thought of whether I have failed or succeeded, but just to live for God’s glory! To lift my head toward my Creator without a thought of whether I will be seen by careless passersby! To be anxious for nothing, not even for the coming winter when the leaves will be stripped, the ripples trapped in ice, the grasses frozen.
Because there is winter, in every life. But the birch tree isn’t worried about that today.
Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments and untraceable his ways!
For who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?
And who has ever given to God, that he should be repaid?
For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever. Amen.Romans 11:33-36
And that’s all I have to say about the election!
I think it is important to know what’s happening in the world around us. But I have a hunch that the hardest battles we will ever fight are the ones within us.
Be like a tree!
Speaking of the White House…
Note: I uploaded a new version of the e-book which I hope is typo free this time!