Ever hold on to something so tight for so long that it becomes literally painful to let it go? Like someone has to pry your cramping fingers from the thing as you fight them tooth and nail? I bet you’ve held on to things longer that you should like an old frying pan or something. Yea me too.
I’m seeing a consistent theme in my life right now. Old things are passing and new things are upon me. The season is changing and at times I’m holdin’ on to the old season for dear life. I’ve got a firm two hand grip on this tree right now and no changin’ leaves or howlin’ storm is gonna tear away my death grip. Speaking of that tree…
In our backyard there are huge moss-draped, live oak trees that are hundreds of years old. There’s one right outside my kitchen window. It’s not anything special or significant, but I like it because it’s always been there. It’s a gigantic, two trunk, crooked, gnarly tree, but it provides peaceful shade over our backyard and porch. That is – until last week.
Darling hubby Eric was concerned about the old split tree and the precarious way it hovered over our neighbor’s lanai (for non-Floridians that’s the screened area typically covering the pool). He feared the tree would become a weapon in the next tropical storm or hurricane doing damage to our house and Larry’s. He was probably right. I knew that. But I hated to let that tree go.
I considered strapping myself to it the day the tree removal team arrived. Thought better of it when I realized that since I was also the one that hired them, it wasn’t exactly the preferred scenario for a protest. So instead I took pictures of the tree from all angles and told it goodbye. We hugged. Then I stared at it as they whittled it down from high up in the bucket truck. Massive limbs fell and pieces hit with a house-shaking thud. It was hard to watch. And yet I sat there gawking from the upstairs windows like a little kid. “I’m so dramatic,” I thought. I couldn’t tear myself away from the chopping down of the tree even while knowing that logically it was the right thing to do. We had to cut the tree down to protect our home, our neighbor’s home and actually open up a little area for sunlight to shine through so that grass could grow back there.
SO. THAT. NEW. THINGS. CAN. GROW.
Well shoot. Ok God. I hear you. (There’s that scripture again.)
Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? Isaiah 43: 18-19
It wasn’t just a tree coming down. It was the beginning of new life. <Here’s the God part…> Sometimes, we have to let go of the old things so that God can place a new thing in our hand. We have to let pruning take place to allow something wonderful to grow in its place. If we don’t release our grip or make room for the sunlight to break through, we will stay stagnant, splitting at the root, in danger of falling down and causing damage all around us. Let the old things go so the new things can grow. (Oh that was good. Read that again!) Let the old things go so the new things can grow.
As for the tree, it’s gone now and the tree engineers advised that we had removed it just in time. It was rotten about a third of the way down. (Looked fine from the outside – another story for another time.) A strong wind could have broken it off and we would’ve had a mess on our hands.
Don’t you just love it when God speaks through something so simple? Y’all remind me of this one when I forget.