I love trees.
My husband says I relate to trees like I do people–each one has a personality and quirks.
All of them have value.
We have a live oak in our front yard that is slowly doing damage to our driveway, water pipes, and lawn. The root system sits high so there are these knobby appendages that rise up out of the grass to suck the life out of the lawn or wrap themselves around and grow through the pipes, causing huge cracks in the concrete of our driveway.
I love that tree.
It’s over 25 years old and looks somewhat like a bearded wizard. Spanish moss hangs from its branches, a nasty moss that leeches life from the tree. I’ve climbed into its branches to rid it of that nuisance. I never wanted to prune it because the random cutting of branches seemed so unkind, so its growth pattern is rather unattractive.
It’s an ugly tree, but it’s my tree.
I’ve argued to keep it.
It’s coming down this week.
Our next-door neighbor has already had to pay for extensive damages to his pipes caused by a similar tree in his front yard. John is concerned we’re going to have to repave our driveway because the cracks are being problematic. The pipe issue is always there; roots are persistent in their growth pattern, not caring what’s in their way. They’ll just grow through it.
This tree has been part of our home for 25 years. Our kids and grands have climbed it. The birds and squirrels that populate that tree are friends who chatter up a storm anytime someone comes into the house.
It’s part of the family.
The time has come, however, to evaluate the value of keeping the tree. It will cost considerably to cut it down. But repiping from the street to the house could be quite a bit more. And then there’s the driveway.
Too often I hang onto what isn’t good for me; lies that have taken root in my soul that I’ve made part of how I see myself, attitudes I’ve developed that aren’t encouraging to me or others, perspectives that are shared widely by individuals but really don’t help me at all. They’re familiar, and they might have begun as great intentions, but they don’t actually cause growth and wholeness in any positive way.
Filling my heart and mind with God’s truth keeps me centered on what’s good, right, and helpful. Focusing on Him and His strength and willingness to love and protect me keeps me from getting mired in untruths that can easily destroy who I am.
That tree didn’t start out as a problem; it’s not a bad tree. It was left untended and became a problem.
When we’re not careful with our lives, with what we allow our minds and hearts to invest in with time and intent, we can become just like that tree–hurting ourselves and those around us with unrestrained entitlement and self-centeredness.
We aren’t just messy, hurting problems. We’re people in need of the love and forgiveness of a merciful God.
He alone knows how to tend the soil of our souls.