While renting a home and having most of my belongings still out of my possession isn’t ideal, it has allowed me much more spare time than I have had in a long while. I don’t have those piles of paper to file, those boxes of pictures to scrapbook, that massive yard to maintain. It’s just basic cleaning up and daily routine kinds of things. Thus, I have been allowed thinking and pondering time without other tasks nagging at the back of my brain. (I never actually filed those papers or scrapbooked those pages, it’s just not nagging at me, now.) At first, this was not such a good thing, as I was desperate for distractions and driving myself mad with all that was going on in my brain. (Well, more mad than usual, I should say.) Lately, however, I’ve been taking advantage of my quiet time. My favorite thing is taking a blanket into the back yard in the late afternoon and reading a just-for-fun book for a little while. Usually, one or more of the kids is playing in the sandbox and it’s just warm enough to be pleasant and just cool enough to snuggle up in the blanket as I read.
My latest book included a lot of sword fighting and dragon killing, which was entertaining, but not my usual style of read, so I took breaks. As yet another sword fight ensued, my eyes wandered through the tree branches above my head. They were bare, but would soon develop small buds that would eventually blossom and transform into leaves. I began to wonder at the consistency and inevitability of such a thing. The tree knows its objective and its cycle, following the measure of its creation with intention and purpose. I looked around at more of God’s creations, noticing the blades of grass, the petals of the tulip bulbs breaking through the soil, the vines clinging to the chain link fence, all completing their purposes, all obediently fulfilling the measure of their creation as they beautify the world.
I mused about whether or not it was pleasant for them, to lose their beauty and go into hibernation, if it caused any stress or pain to break through the soil or sprout leaves once again–which is of course ridiculous, but one must consider ridiculous things every so often to keep oneself from becoming mundane. So I imbued the vegetation around me with emotions and senses. I imagined the tree branches feeling pinpricks of pain as the blossoms sprang forth on their branches, the tulip leaves with weary necks as they pushed forth from the soil, the blades of grass fatigued as they used the last dregs of their energy to turn from brown to green. Then, I imagined them bursting forth with happiness, vitality, and positive energy to share along with their beauty. Both equally beautiful. Both accomplishing the same purpose. It didn’t matter if the plants felt pain or joy, either way they would do what they were designed to do, over and over again, until acted upon by a power greater than themselves, such as a person yanking their roots free or a storm too great for them to withstand. Even then, they still play their part in the grand design as they decompose and fertilize the new life springing from the fuel and nutrition they provide.
No matter what, they fill the measure of their creation. They were created with a certain purpose, and the only thing they know is to fulfill that purpose. I entertained this idea for a time, rolling it around in my mind as it blossomed inside of my head. I want to be a tree. I want to be a tulip. I want to be a blade of grass.
I want to fill the measure of my creation.
No matter what happens around me that is out of my control, I want to do God’s will, I want to enact His design, I want to be a tool in His hands to beautify my world. I want to consistently fulfill my purpose, without deviation, every day, all day long. I want to depend upon Him first and foremost, above all else, above anyone else.
I want to be His.
The pain and discomfort are only part of my journey. Having a desire to do His will, even if it means hardship and sorrow, is true submission. I want to get there. Hardships bring me to my Heavenly Father, turn my eyes and heart toward my Savior, and as I become one with them, I no longer feel the burdens. It becomes less about working to do God’s will, and more about becoming one with Him so that my will is His will. I want that. Sometimes I feel that. When I do, I am liberated and so free. I am at peace. My burdens are not heavy, my fears are gone away, and my spirit soars. My truest wings are the ones I gain from surrendering my entire self to Him.
I am not always so liberated. I am not always so at peace. I am mortal and very, very far from perfect. I will lose the desire, sometimes, but I will work to get it back, and in that working I will come even closer to Him. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect, and the exhilarating thing is I am only just beginning this journey. There is even more peace and more joy and more fulfillment to be had than what I’ve even come close to discovering. There are even more lessons to learn and more things to discover. Boundless opportunities for true peace and happiness are in store for all of us.
What a beautiful lesson to learn from a tree.