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"Trees that teach" by Sheri Wohlfert (CatholicMom.com) Image credit: Pixabay.com (2018), CC0 Public Domain[/caption]
The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground — trees that were pleasing to the eye. (Genesis 2:9)
October is absolutely my very favorite month of the year. I love the change in temperatures, colors, foods, and clothes. We celebrate some of my favorite events in October, but what I love most are the trees. Some trees are so intense with yellows, oranges, and reds they look like they’re plugged in.  As I was driving a couple of hours to a speaking job last weekend it was sunny and warm and I just soaked in all the color and beauty. Once I got home, it occurred to me that I take trees for granted the other eleven months out of the year. That thought hovered with me for a few days and I’ve heard three cool tree stories in the past couple of days, so I figured that means a message for all of us. Lesson 1: Trees change, the color changes, the shape changes, the size changes; everything about them changes from season to season. None of those changes are permanent. Some stages are a whole lot more appealing than others, for sure. I suppose life is like that. There are times when our lives are bright and brilliant and others when things seem dull and unattractive. Each of the stages comes and goes, one follows the other and the old makes way for the new. I’m sure the tree doesn’t pout when its beautiful colored leaves fall to the ground for us to tromp on; it’s just the ebb and flow. Each stage  and each change offers something new and different. Just like the leaves that don’t stay but for a season, our highs aren’t meant to stay forever -- and neither are our lows. God is right there in both: teaching, loving, and then moving us along. Lesson 2: Storms deepens the roots. Trees have a way of adapting to conditions. Storms of life will come and go, so being firmly anchored is a means of survival. Tree roots sink deeper into the ground for life-giving nutrients, and we need to anchor deeply in our faith and trust in the Lord so we can be nourished by his life-giving grace and mercy. Being rooted in our faith is what allows us to survive the storms and tough spots in life. Strong roots make us steady as the world around us changes. Lesson 3: Destruction often ushers in new life. The cones on some pine trees are only opened by the flash heat of a forest fire. The intense heat causes the cone to open up and spill its seeds so new life can be spread by gravity and wind. We often look at destruction as life damaging and not as life giving. Sometimes being completely disappointed or devastated  is what it takes for us to surrender our own plans and let the love of God guide us to new life. I guess October trees aren’t just beautiful to look at, they have lessons to offer as well. The next time I’m smack-dab in the middle of something stormy and hard I’ll remind myself that I’m working on my roots. The next time I watch my well-thought-out plans go up in smoke, I’ll remind myself to watch for the seeds of new life around me and I will certainly be reminded that sometimes my life might look like a bunch of bare branches but something good will pop out soon. Thank you, God, for some beautiful trees and some great lessons. A Seed To Plant: Pick one of the lessons and ask God to show you how He might be inviting you to apply it to your life this season. Blessings on your day!
Copyright 2018 Sheri Wohlfert