Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Trees

As I drive through our storm ravaged area, one thing that stands out to me is the trees.  There is a road near our house that has the most magnificent trees.  I don’t even know what kind they are, but they’re definitely not spindly little pine trees or anything of that sort.  Massive in height and width, they have strong branches that stretch powerfully to the sky.  Just their presence makes you feel secure and at peace.  They would make a beautiful portrait in their own merit.

However, many of them have been damaged by the recent storms.  What used to be so beautiful is now only a remnant of its former glory.  Some were knocked over – roots and all ripped from the ground.  Others were snapped in two or mangled beyond recognition.  Most of their leaves are now beginning to turn brown from the lack of water as they lay helpless on the ground.

What struck me today as I drove by the trees is how much I can relate to them.  I’ll try to describe it to you using a couple quotes from the movie, My Sister’s Keeper.  If you haven’t seen it, it’s about a girl who’s dying of cancer and her family.  The first time I saw it, I cried through the entire movie because I could relate so much to their feelings.  I think anyone who has a child (or children) with a chronic illness can relate to them.

Here’s a line from the opening scene:

Since my sister got sick, things have changed.  Aunt Kelly only works part time, and mom quit her job as a lawyer.  Her life now revolves around keeping Kate alive.  Cooking and cleaning – everything steamed, organic, and germ free.  I guess you could say that we’re a little dysfunctional, but everybody loves each other, and we do the best we can.

Dad speaking (two separate occasions):

Having a child who is sick is a fulltime occupation.  Sure, we still enjoy the day to day happinesses of family life - big house, great kids, beautiful wife.  But beneath the exterior there are cracks – resentments, alliances that threaten the very foundation of our lives.  As at any moment our whole world could come tumbling down.

Well, I think we’ve all been perverted by the mechanics of just keeping Katie alive sometimes.  I’m sure we’re all broken in ways we don’t even understand yet.

The daughter makes a scrapbook for her family.  These are some of her thoughts:

This is it.  I know I’m going to die now. 
I supposed I’ve always known that.
 I just never knew when. 
And I’m okay with it…really.
 I don’t mind my disease killing me. 
But it’s killing my family too…

I’m sorry, Jesse. 
I’m sorry I took all of the attention
when you were the one who needed it the most.

Dad, I know I took your first love from you. 
I only hope that one day you get her back.

Mom, you gave up everything for me: 
your work, your marriage, your entire life –
just to fight my battles for me every single day.
 I’m sorry you couldn’t win.

Having kids with chronic health problems is not just about the times when they’re terribly sick.  It’s also about the good days.  You savor every moment of them.  At the same time, it’s like dancing on egg shells.  You are so careful not to allow anything to cross their paths that might cause them even the slightest relapse.  It’s a 24/7 job that never goes away – like walking an infinite tight rope… an endless sea of broken trees.

As I passed by the trees today, another thought also came to mind.  I was reading in Isaiah a few days ago, and one phrase in particular jumped out at me.  I wasn’t sure why at the time, but as I drove, God brought it back to my mind.

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;

to comfort all who mourn;
to grant to those who mourn in Zion –
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord,
that he may be glorified.” 

Isaiah 63:1-3

After looking at the verse again, I decided to dust off my Strong’s Concordance and do a little research.  I wanted to look at the word called.  Other words the concordance used were proclaim, pronounce, say.  Although my “tree” right now is feeling battered and torn, God can look past it all and proclaim or pronounce me to be an oak of righteousness for His glory.  I find something very beautiful and comforting in those words.

I will leave you with the lyrics to a song I love right now:

“Blessings” by Laura Story

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise


1 comment:

  1. WOW! Well-said ... and powerful, perspective-changing words. Life is all about Him. May our hearts reflect His heart as we love Him more and realize how small our lives are in light of His greater redemptive story. Thank you for sharing.