Wednesday, October 21, 2009

the giving tree...

Once there was a tree... and she loved a little boy. Everyday he would come and gather her leaves...

He would animate his voice and turn each page in dramatic fashion as I rested my head on his arm. Even as I child I knew there was something sacrificial about the time he spent with me each night as we read my favorite book over and over until I memorized the each sentence without the ability to read the words. The scent of my dad mingled with the smell of the pages from the library book and it was intoxicating. If I could bottle the scent, I would put it on everyday as a reminder of my dad (my Giving Tree) and Shel Silverstein (author of The Giving Tree) and God (the creator of our Giving Tree).

We had a Giving Tree. My dad doesn't believe I remember it since I was only three years of age, but I do. I remember the trunk of the tree, the shade during the day, the shadows at night.

What I didn't know then was it was our source of food for many days, weeks, and months. Last night over dinner, my father recounted stories about the avocado tree in our backyard which allowed us to survive on avocado sandwiches, avocado grilles, avocado tacos, and of course guacamole for months. We were losing our house, my mom was losing her mind, and my dad was losing his hope. During those times, he would walk into the backyard to pick up our dinner from the ground. Swallowing his pride, salvaging his home, saving his family, this tree became a friend.

In a weird sense, it was like God. No, God wasn't in the tree, God wasn't the tree, God was like the tree. During that time in my father's life, the thick trunk was a pillar in times of trouble, the leaves reached out like arms providing protection from life's harsh heat, and yes, even though there were shadows of fear, it still provided the sustenance we needed for daily survival. He doesn't need the tree anymore. Or at least that's what I thought until last night.

"I am sorry," sighed the tree. I wish that I could give you something...but I have nothing left. I am just an old stump. I am sorry...."
"I don't need very much now," said the boy, "Just a quiet place to sit and rest. I am very tired."
"Well," said the tree, straightening herself up as much as she could, "Well, an old stump is good for sitting and resting. Come, Boy, sit down. Sit down and rest." And the boy did.

And the tree was happy.

At the end of the book the Giving Tree has given all she could until there was nothing left to garnish attention from the boy-turned-man. But I realized God, like the tree, is simply happy when we rest in Him and find contentment simply in what He's given us (1 Timothy 6:6).

17 comments:

Michelle said...

That is one of my favorite books of all time!! And your post gives insight to why I love it. :) Sacrificial love! So beautiful.

Jenn said...

WHY am I crying? I don't know. But I loved this post.

Bianca, this may sound weird but I didn't really have a relationship with God before reading your blog. In a very odd way, you've helped me see God in a SUPER easy way.

All I can say is that YOU'VE been a Giving Tree to me. Thank you a million times over.

Anonymous said...

I think this is the 1st time that I have ever been brought to tears by a blog! I know and heard your family's story many times but for some reason I was just moved but this lil' portion of it! Thank you! Thanks for sharing this today! This post has giving me a reminder of hope and the Giver and Sustainer (i don't even know if this is a real word) of that hope.

love you!

-j

Bianca said...

@michelle: if i'm ever in your area, me, you, and annie are going out on the town like the three amigos! we're a match made in dorkville :)

@jenn: sometimes i question my intention in regards to blogging and think, "why the heck am i even doing this?!" then i get a comment like yours and i realize there is a purpose to all things.

@j: our prayers this morning spawned this entire blog. as god provided for our family then, he'll provide for all our needs now. 143

Diandra said...

oh Bi. My response was the same as Jenn's... I thought, Why am I crying??? God's reminders always seem to come at the right times... Often through you! Love you!

Anonymous said...

Bianca, you brought to tears and smiled at the same time after reading this blog, so warm, so sincere. God Bless you

Cindy A. said...

B, I love this story. TRULY love this story. I teared up reading it and my coworker noticed, so she asked me to read your post aloud.

Good heavens, my voice cracked and the tears came down. God is SO good, blessed be the name of the Lord.

ks*Rebecca said...

Great post. I love aguacates too :)

melissa said...

Wow. What a sweet reminder that God rained down manna from heaven then and he can do it now! Thank you for sharing your family's struggle. It ministered to me and I sent it over to my husband to read, as we are enduring the same struggles.

But also, it showed me how I often take for granted that sweet "story time" with my own girls. Lord! Let me SAVOR those moments. For that is where MY legacy as a mama starts. I blogged yesterday about my daughter reading me Psalm 78...(she compared the manna to the movie "cloudy with a chance of meatballs!")...but what a powerful lesson I learned just from sitting with her little 7-year old self. That time is so so precious!

Bless you sweet Bianca.

FaithBarista Bonnie said...

Bianca, thanks for sharing your story in such a personal and creative way. The story Giving Tree was sad, though. So, you and I can bring Him pleasure, with posts like this. ;)

Jasmine said...

I'm all terary-eyed. I love you, Beesh.

Annie said...

First of all ... YEAH ROAD TRIP! Dorkville, here we come!!

Second, I just want to tell you how blessed I am to hear about a daddy who sought to truly take care of his family. How he swallowed his pride, sacrificed and did what it took to make sure they were good. I never really had that. Then it reminds me of how my Daddy-God does the same thing (minus the pride of course!) for me on a daily basis. He does't require anything special of me -- no special offerings, no special up-keep or makeup or brushed teeth -- just me.

This book has always reminded me of who He really is and how He really loves. Thank you once again, Bee Bee! (BTW, I think that's my new nickname for you... unless I come up with something else!)

Anonymous said...

I love this story!! thank you bi!! How funny, my hubby and I had a cheese avocado quesedilla for lunch, so good! Now I am going to look at fruit trees in a whole different way :)

Daniel said...

Reading this, the first thing I noticed is how you recall your Dad in such a tender way. Awesome. It actually made me wonder how my daughter will recall me once she is grown.....makes me think of every sec I spend with her how important it is.

It's so sweet when we look back at certain moments of our life, that were maybe major or minor and see how our Father in Heaven, The True Living God, not only got us through those moments but was even there with us and ahead of us just working in so many ways. He knows how much to give us and it's always enough.

Jhn 15:7

brianwurzell said...

How sweet would it be to end up being like The Giving Tree? To have given so well that all we have to offer people is the rest they can find in the context of community and relationship.

I think it's an awesome picture of God, but, I also think it's a picture of a great aim for our lives. Give until you have nothing left to give for the sake of the Kingdom and when you've given all you have...you still have peace and rest to offer.

Interesting thoughts going through my head. Great word from a simple little story!!

Speaking of STORY...we're gonna high five soon!!! :)

His Jewel said...

Love your post B! God is so good! So avocados were your mana, huh? Mmmmmmm, love 'em and love God's provision! So gracious, loving and faithful to provide for his kids! Love your dad too! ;)

I've never heard of that book though but then I never got stories read to me when I was a kid. Precious!

Sundin Photography said...

This post made me cry. That book always makes me cry too. Thank you for this post! I LOVE the reminder of how God provides, even in unusual ways sometimes (like an avocado tree), and that we don't NEED all the things we think we need to live. Thank you for sharing your life with us!

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