Wednesday, October 21, 2009
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.
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).