Planting Trees

by - March 03, 2010

Last weekend Joe and I purchased a peach tree from Lowes and planted it along the property line next to the one we planted last spring. We planted the initial tree after my first miscarriage in March of last year. As we broke the ground with my parents, we laughed about how I always pick spots with huge rocks (these looked like cobble stones) and we dodged Scooby's wild bamboo-pole-ninja-chopping. Though it was left unspoken between us, I feel like this new tree was planted for the baby we lost this past June.

For awhile now I've reflected on the ability of planting trees to commemorate life in the wake of something else passing or the onset of blessings or a changing life season. When I ended my first dating relationship and was waffling in my decision due to the grief and insecurity of my overwhelming new-found singleness, a campus minister encouraged me to do something physical - get a haircut or pierce my ears - to mark that change in my life or pay it homage of sorts. I can't say at the time I understood the value in or heeded her advice; however, I have come to see how finding a physical expression of inner change can help define the experience and allow us to move through grief without fearing the loss of memories or the dissipation of our love and hopes.

As those trees mature, they will grow stronger, bear fruit, and provide shade. In choosing peach trees, I've decided that my grief will not bear bitterness in my life, but be a source of encouragement to others. I hope when I pause and reflect on them, I'll remember a season of pain and take great comfort in how God has brought new life - both in a new child and in strength that only comes from the tenderness of a broken heart.

Eventually I hope to have my two boys plant their own trees. I will share with them how while they are now like young trees - tall and lanky with shallow roots and fragile branches - one day they will be like the massive oak trees in our neighborhood. Their roots will be firmly planted and drink deep waters unseen by the eyes. Their branches will be strong to shoulder great weights and withstand furious storms, and their reach will be wide and shady to provide shelter and safety to the ones they love. And while they may still run around chopping like ninjas and laughing as we dig the holes, I hope the love in which is it done will take root in their young hearts.

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  1. We plant something for each birthday, Father's Day and Mother's Day. Autumn's first birthday gift was a white Natchez crape myrtle.

    Your campus minister's suggestion is echoed in scripture: sacrifices, circumcision, building mounds of rocks as a memorial, for examples.

    The fruit trees you planted will symbolize how God makes good, fruitful things out of the worst.

  2. Have you read "Hinds Feet on High Places"? She gathered small stones from the places of significant experiences. Daniel's middle name "Stone" comes from the OT practice of building a stone altar to God in gratitude for great blessing.

  3. No, I've never read that - sounds very relevant. I love your reason for naming him Stone.

    So when are we going to Logan's? Next week some time maybe?



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