Walk With Chris
Inspired by a springtime walk. My friend and I first came across a tree arrayed in glorious pink buds. It was magical and abundant. We stayed for a long time, taking pictures and videos, and just soaking in the goodness. As we continued on our walk, we came to a singular bush tree with absolutely no signs of new life. While in some ways the polar opposite to our previous near-heavenly experience, we found ourselves equally in awe of the beauty of these bare-naked branches. Again, pictures from many angles were taken.
That night I created this piece, and it just keeps expanding in depth of meaning. For some of us, we are raised in tremendous abundance. Not only are we well-fed, clothed, and educated. But we know LOVE and steadiness of sweet home life, mixed with other beautiful ties to community and friends. The first tree. But others grow up in living nightmares. They may or may not have been well-fed, well-clothed, or secure. Their lives have been etched so deeply with atrocities in their homes and communities that for some, it is a miracle that they are still alive today. The bankruptcies of their childhood shadow and shatter them throughout the remainder of their adult lives. The second tree.
What I have begun to understand is just how much we need each other. Some of what the first tree has to offer is obvious. Within them is a steadiness, a normalcy of healthy relationships. This may be something they take completely for granted, only becoming evident when they brush up against those whose environments have caused them to grow some prickly thorns. Most often, the second tree is seen as a burden, a ministry to those of the first tree.
But this is far from the truth. You see, the second tree intimately knows what it is like to have pain rip through their hearts, all the way to the core of their beings. This pain, like a bile rising from within, often cannot be suppressed. And with no place to escape, many find themselves with rended hearts before the throne room of God. It is there that they are trained in the wonders of bankruptcy. And the salvation of Christ finds its way into the depths of their beings. The riches gained far surpass any earthly wealth. And thus, what they have to offer is so very priceless.
But the lesson goes even further. In many ways, the truth of the two distinct trees is an illusion. Are we not all broken vessels living in a broken world, so far fallen from what God first intended? Does not the richest in humanity still have rivers of unending grief, hidden though they may be? I know from my own life how prone I am to desperately grasp at every small blossom to keep the barrenness at bay. You see, both trees live within me. Dancing through the forest, walking the coast, laughing with friends, and even kissing my cat’s most beautiful cheeks….what a bountiful existence! But I also deal with unending grief and obstacles facing the uglier side of humanity in others as well as myself. I have found that the riches gained from humbly, desperately, nakedly coming before my God yields a harvest of love and beauty and magic and wonderment, the likes of which are beyond our wildest imaginations.
So I will continue to forge forward in this duel existence, rejoicing in the rays of the sun, the love of good friends, and the belly laughing that sometimes cannot be stopped. But on the cloudy days when my barren branches are exposed, I will wail, scream, and worship, knowing that a very faithful and loving God is molding me into a vessel to hold and behold more than I ever could have dreamt.