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Trees and Poetry

For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do. [Ephesians 2:10]

I saw a hilltop, green and grassy and unmarred by path or mark of any kind. It sloped down into a deep valley, where a river ran, swift and cold, and it was surrounded by a tall, toothed mountain range. And on top of the hill stood an oak tree - broad and strong and ancient, the sort Druids might have gathered under for a temple.

The mental picture returned to me again and again. I pondered it, fixating on the absence of a path (I'm all about paths and maps and compasses). I explored it from every angle, wondering where I was in this space, and concluded that I stood as an observer and therefore couldn't see myself.

Finally, over a year later, when it arose yet again, I snapped. I've seen this! I know! Why do You keep showing me this?! And the answer came back, clear and kind and with a tinge of patient annoyance, You're the tree.

Oh. Oh! Ohhh. I'm the tree. That actually made perfect sense, and fit in well with last year's word of the year, pacific. To grow deep roots into well-watered soil. That slow growth is okay, because it makes for stronger wood. To shelter and nurture, to add a little acid back into the ground, to send out runners that strengthen the roots of other trees.

I was about six months into exploring the nuances of that when someone asked me what I had always wanted but never asked for. The answer sprang immediately to mind: a voice. I wanted a voice, but secretly suspected that I somehow either didn't deserve or couldn't be trusted with one.  Then, almost as quickly, I was reminded of a poem I'd memorized as a child.

I think that I shall never see
a poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day
and lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
a nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
but only God can make a tree.
["Trees" by Joyce Kilmer]

A poem lovely as a tree. I heard once that the word generally translated as "masterpiece" or "handiwork" in Ephesians 2:10 is the Greek word poiÄ“ma, where we get the English word poem from.  A poem written by God, for His glory.

Part of my word for this year, spark, is the idea of following fireflies. I'm not sure how being a tree-poem ties into anything yet, but I'm sure it will become clear eventually. In the mean time, I'll lift my leafy arms to pray, and watch for the twinkles of light that rise from the grass to draw my eyes Heavenward.

What is something you've always wanted but never asked for? Why?


Trish King said…
Acceptance and inclusion. I secretly fear that it won't be enough. That is why my word this year is 'contentment' I need to be happy with what I already have.

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31 Days of Unraveling Designs

It's that time of year again... the 31 Days writing challenge starts today! Bloggers from all over will be writing every day of the month of October on the topic of their choosing. This will be my fourth year participating - the first year I did 7 for 31, and spent a month going through Jen Hatmaker's book 7. The second year I did 31 Days of Sustainable Dwelling, and wrote about local and fair trade living. Last year I was busy but still wanted to participate, so I went the easy route with 31 Days of Everyday Beautiful.

This year I'm diving into my greatest passion: knitting! I'll spend this month looking at past designs and talking about the inspiration behind them, so there will be plenty of regular life mixed in with the stitching - and there may be discount codes for the patterns that I write about. You'll just have to read and see!

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Unfortunately, this also applies to my own knitting. For years, I was apparently unaffected by the shifts and turmoils in my own life, so I assumed that I was exempt from the rule - when the reality was, in fact, that I wasn't really experiencing any of those on anything deeper than a surface level because everything was deadened by depression. When I finally started to really…


A few years ago, I was introduced to the concept of replacing the traditional list of resolutions with a single word. It appealed to me - I am not a big list person, but I love language and words and meanings and etymology and metaphor and... ahem. Ennyhoo. I liked the idea.
I've never chosen the word. It's always presented itself to me - and last year was no different. Pacific was very insistent, even though I tried to argue with it. Pacific? What does that even mean? What am I supposed to do with that?
But I accepted it, and I'm glad I did. I learned about depth and calm, about storm and nurture, about faith and adventure - and about the unstoppable ocean of God's grace, that overwhelms to fill and cleanse and bring blessings unasked.
So I'm bidding pacific a very fond farewell, and welcoming spark and whatever lessons it would like to bring. I invited it in with a copper wire punctuated with tiny lights and wrapped around my mood board, and I've got an empt…