Lessons from the Tree Maker {And Day 5 of Healthier Living}

I love trees and I love autumn.

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The autumn tree is a glorious vision, with its rich colors and striking beauty. Indeed, don’t we travel for miles to enjoy the spectacular view of an autumn landscape?

After a season of rich green, the autumn tree bursts forth in glorious color, and shows a different face of beauty. As temperatures cool, the leaves transform into striking hues which glow in the sun. But we have to catch the show at the right time. The window is short. A week too late, and the leaves could be gone, fallen to the ground in a dusty heap.

Trees in summer remind me of youth– lush, lively, perky. Trees of autumn remind me of  older ones who show off their wisdom and knowledge through their changing colors, like crowning acts of their lives. If autumn is the show, summer is the dress rehearsal. But then the glory of the autumn tree dies all too soon, and its colors fade and its leaves drop dead to the ground.

Yet the tree has not died.

In the wake of approaching bitter winter winds, ice, and blanketing snow, the tree shows off its glory, relinquishes its glimmering coat… and then the snows fall.

I wonder… why do the leaves only keep such glorious color for a short time? Why do the trees lose their magnificent crown, drop their jewels, just before the onslaught of bitter and brutal cold? Why then, just before winter? Isn’t this when they need their beautiful wrap of red, gold or yellow the most?  And isn’t winter when I long to see color the most, too- during the long dark months when I only see white, gray or brown?

After some seasons spent under the branches, I can hear the answer of the Tree Maker, whispering to my soul:

 “The trees willingly give up their beauty, their protective coats, and accept the storm that is coming. They stand ready to face the cold and lonely winter. I, their Maker, know what I’m doing. Did you notice that their glory shines brightest before their leaves die, during autumn?

They shine, and then give up themselves to me, surrender their leaves– and only a skeleton remains for the long winter season. Do you notice how their branches lift up to me, like hands in praise? The snows fall, but then in spring, they are born again with new life!”

As I ponder this further, the Maker of the tree and my soul whispers to me:

Lesson One: When I give back to God something I’m holding onto, there is a beauty to that letting go. When I die to myself, there is a beauty in that death. God’s glory will shine during that season. The autumn leaves that glow, and then die, exemplify the beauty of letting go.

Lesson Two: There are cycles and seasons in life. The tree reminds me that spring will come after winter, as trite as that sounds. The trees don’t die in the winter; they let go of their coat, and God protects them during that long harsh season. After some years, the trees grow into magnificent living beauties. Surviving the winter is part of the process, and a part of the environment they must live with where they are planted.  During one season they bear fruit, in another season, the seeds fall and lie dormant in the ground, but the seeds don’t die in the winter, either. If I’m facing a winter, He is planting and planning new growth in my life; cultivating the growth of my spirit.

Lesson Three: In the whirlwind of life, the tree is firmly planted. It may sway in the wind, but it won’t come out of the ground. It’s roots are firmly established. The peace, the place of rest, amidst seasons, the bitter winter, and the whirlwind of life, is found in God: “Return to your rest, O my soul, For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.” Psalm 116:7. As time goes on, and I live through more cycles of winter and thaw, cold and heat, calm and wind, I can remind myself that abiding with Him makes for deeper roots.

Quite a lesson from the Tree Maker.

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Today the post is about spiritual wellness and growth…  Are you sensing the nudge in your spirit of something that needs to be surrendered? How can “holding on” deter spiritual growth? What other lessons of the season might the Tree Maker be teaching you?

Linking with  Emily at Imperfect Prose, Laura at The Wellspring, Jen at Finding Heaven, and  Peter Pollock’s Blog Carnival …  {And this is Day 5 of my Healthier Living series}

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15 thoughts on “Lessons from the Tree Maker {And Day 5 of Healthier Living}

  1. Congratulations on taking on the 31 day challenge! I have to admit, I cling to summer for all it’s worth and have to work through a deep season of melancholy when autumn settles in. Now that I truly am in the autumn of my life, I am so grateful to be firmly planted in Him.

    1. Nancy, I have to admit that while I love autumn (especially when I lived in the south), I’m right there with you… cold, long winters are hard for me.
      Keep abiding, friend. :)

  2. This is beautiful. Something for me to take with me throughout my day. Perhaps your words hold an answer to a prayer I prayed this morning.

  3. This is a beautiful piece, a prose poem really. I would be tempted to put it in stanza format.

    Thanks for “following” me on Twitter. You were the first person I tweeted…had to delete a double post. I haven’t visited here lately; forgotten how inspirational your writing is. My world view is darkening…I will return here for a ray of light.

    1. Haha, I’m honored to be your first “tweetee” — or whatever the word is for it!

      I’m so glad you came by here. Your words delight me- not just your comment here, but your poetry, too. I hope you’ll come here often. :)
      Even in the darkest dark, there is a ray of light of shining. :)

  4. Beautiful post! It doesn’t feel quite like autumn down here and some days I miss the feet of snow and then my husband promptly reminds me how I wrap in a sweater when it drops to the 70’s and how I couldn’t survive the dark day of brown white and gray. Thank you for this piece, I enjoyed it!

    1. Hello Misty– I’m not sure how you could miss the multiple feet of snow… but I’ll take your word for it! :) I admit it’s dark and dreary in the winter, I can’t go there in my mind just now (though I know it’s coming)… but how nice you have someone looking out for your survival away from the cold! :)
      Visited your beautiful blog and was inspired by your writing! So nice to meet you.

  5. What a lovely, lovely post–filled with soul-full thinking. Autumn is a time of letting go, isn’t it? And I often think of the lesson the trees give us, this one of rest. When they enter this semi-dormancy, their roots are being nourished. Sometimes I need to pause and let my roots be nourished too. Lovely, lovely words, my friend.

    1. The lesson of rest, and being nourished in the semi-dormant state– maybe I can remember those words during the worst of winter, when it so dark and cold and looks like nothing could possibly survive the harshness of it all. Encouraging thoughts, friend.

      Thank you so much for your comment– I recovered it from the spam box– I’m not sure why WordPress has had some issues lately, but thank you for your persistence in commenting, that means much to me. ;)

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