I am sitting in Cold Spring New York as I write this, and truly it is a cold spring day, rainy wet somewhat undesirable. We realize so often that the undesirable is necessary for the desirable to take root and to grow. That is what springtime is really about. The warm sunny days must be balanced against the cool, wet spring days or the force of nature upon the tender shoot would be so great that the tender root will wither before it has opportunity to fully stretch and grow and become what it is suppose to be, a strong root, a tree, a flower, a fruit.
Following a reflection (my daily one) I felt compelled to share my limited words of wisdom. Today’s focus is on being that sometimes lonely tree, that one tree in the distance that balances out a beautiful sunrise, or maybe a sunset, the lone tree that could make a difference to the horizon. We never know when we will be that tree or be called to be that tree. It is in those fleeting unexpected moments that words are spoken to us, words that can make or break a tree.
I remember one time in particular. It was right after my six and a half year old son passed away. I did not want to leave Children’s Memorial Hospital intensive care waiting room. How could I? My baby was lying in the other room only 20 feet away from me. I wanted to grab him, take him home, pretend that none of what had just happened, happened. It was devastating. I remember a social worker came up to me and just looked at me. I guess she knew, she had seen it all too many times. I looked her in the eye and said, “I can’t wake up tomorrow, I can’t!” I remember wanting to just fall into a heap on the floor, no I wanted to run, run so far and so fast away from myself that I would not have the physical strength or momentum to look back. She grabbed me firmly by both shoulders and gave me one reaffirming shake and said with a conviction that could bring down a strong oak tree, “do not let your children go to the grave with your son!” I remember how stunned I was, almost offended. How could she lack such compassion? Did she not see that I was dying too?
Later it came to me, not only was her firmness, her conviction that which could bring down an oak, it was also an unseen gentleness, the hand of God reaching through the moment to make fertile the soil for future healing and possible accepting of the sun that would follow a gentleness that could nurture a tender root to grow.
With this thought I was reminded of something that was written in the margin on the page of today’s reflection. This was my response to the reflection years past. “We get it wrong ~ a foe is the one we hurt, not the one who hurts us, necessarily ~ A friend is who we nurture, not necessarily who nurtures us – it all comes from us! It is us who determines friend and foe, “Blessed are you the Lord, my daughter! For you have shown more kindness at the end than at the beginning.” Ruth 3:10