As many times as I cry out to God, he is always there. He listens to my pleas, he answers me in the stillness of the night, and when I am most vulnerable, he sends someone to comfort me. The fiery trial remains, but through my prayers I feel him listening to me; I feel him reassuring me. His word renders my troubles as a fleeting wind. He provides the perseverance I need to move forward. He supplies the strength I need to overcome adversity:
“I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping. My eye wastes away because of grief; it grows weak because of all my foes. Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the LORD has heard the sound of my weeping. The LORD has heard my plea; the LORD accepts my prayer. All my enemies shall be ashamed and greatly troubled; they shall turn back and be put to shame in a moment.” (Psalm 6:6-10)
Summer’s the perfect time for relaxation. It doesn’t matter if it’s outside in the park or the backyard. There’s always something to learn when easing into a lawn chair and allowing the mind to drift into a different direction.
I’m writing this Freedom Friday post with the sun in my eyes and the wind in my hair. Once you finish reading it, you’ll know what I mean.
The other day, my wife took me to our backyard and showed me something I hadn’t noticed before. I thought I’d seen everything in my life, but she once again astounded me. A tree, of no certain type, was growing underneath our deck to sprout its leaves through one of the cracks in the floorboards. Like I said, I’d never seen anything like this before and since then it has given me time to pause and reflect.
For a tree to grow under our deck like that, it had to have a seed. Our backyard has a generous helping of vegetation to have produced such a seed. We live in farm country where the woods are mature and the forests are alive. I’ve always been thankful not to live in a neighborhood where everything is flat and brown. The trees abutting our fences soar between sixty to seventy feet into the sky. The tree in the front of our house also towers to a grand sixty-plus feet. Again, I’m thankful I don’t have to look at a scrawny twig when I wake up in the mornings.
Anyway, back to what I was talking about—the seed. That seed had to fly through the air, in between the floorboards and sink below the soil to germinate. Given that under the deck is cool and dark, the seed also needed sunlight, which I might add, could only come from the crack from whence it came. Let’s not forget, it also needed water to nourish it. Again, I’m assuming the crack provided that nourishment.
So, you see, the odds of that seed ever making it as a tree were so against it. Yet, it grew!
Of course, me being the guy who owns the deck, had a problem on my hands. How do I get rid of it? I mean, I appreciated knowing of its resilience, but I just couldn’t have the thing grow and splitting apart my nice deck.
First, I tore apart the lattice under the deck to find the roots. This involved removing nails and producing a whole lotta sweat on a hot summer day. Second, once I found its roots, I had to chip away at it, since it had embedded itself against the foundation post and grew into a knotted mess. Last, when it proved too time consuming to pull at it with ordinary tools, I had to whip out my chainsaw.
You knew this was coming, right? Zombie writer. Tree. Chainsaw. C’mon, you didn’t think I’d pass up an opportunity to use my favorite weapon—I mean tool. To make a long story short, the tree’s gone, left in a yard waste bag by the side of the road.
But there is a moral to this story. I hope you can sit through a minute or so of philosophy.
Just like the seed of a tree, a good habit can grow to become a majestic wonder. It can sprout from within, take root and dominate a person’s life leading to create beautiful music, build a strong home or anything as routine as slipping on a pair of socks. A bad habit can lead to destructive friendships, poor judgment and all sorts of nasty ticks. Whatever the habit is, good or bad, it all starts with a seed.
In the case of the tree under my deck, looking at it from the surface, the tree seemed to be a perfect example of beating all odds to reach the sunlight. Had I left it growing, it would have destroyed the deck. In other words, what sometimes seems too good to be true may be just that. I know I’m speaking in riddles, but this message is for those who have ears. The other part of the equation is the seed grew out of the darkness, which we don’t notice until it’s too late. By that time, it would have already made a mess of things before its branches saw the light of day. Remember, I ultimately had to use a chainsaw to destroy its roots.
To make it even more confusing as to what I’m saying, if the roots set deep enough, habits tend to be hard to break. It’s better replacing a bad habit with a good one than to try to fight it alone.
Okay, enough of the deep talk. Let’s go back out there and enjoy summer!
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What do you think? Is this subject too deep for summer?