I have been drawn to trees of late.
Truly, it has ever been thus. Some of my most powerful childhood memories include times spent held by trees. Climbing trees was an elemental need for me then. Sitting on a branch, surrounded by green and growing and supported by power and movement, I was home.
In my professional life, I have been powerfully engaged in green and growing. It has been a season of funerals for long time members. As I have sat with family and heard stories and hearts, I have felt grafted into the alive thing that is family. Pastors are allowed to be, for a time, a part of the life cycle of families. When we gather for funerals, the hope is that family members feel surrounded by the life beat that is a growing, powerful, and eternal tree of life.
Today in the mail I received a gift from one of the families. I had come to know them well through officiating at the funerals of their grandparents who died weeks apart. They are a beautiful lot, and the ways they named the knot holes of family life and the alive of gratitude moved me.
They sent me a tree. It is on a silver pendant, crafted by one of them. It has heft and power, this symbol, and I am moved by the convergences. I am blessed to have been a part of their witness of the tree that is life. I am blessed to wear that symbol as I continue to sink roots into the Holy and reach toward the sun in my own life and the family I am blessed to learn with.
Sometimes, the thing that is parish ministry near takes me to my knees in wonder. We hold the space in community where we pray that others will find each other and the Holy and in that partnership move toward life transformed.
I am transformed. I am transformed by the welcome, the lament, the laughter and the snarl that is life.
The tree will remind me: Sanctuary is, alive is, life is.