A couple of months ago I transplanted a young oak tree. It was growing in a precarious place and I didn’t want its growth impeded. I moved it to the center of our back yard with great care and hoped it would survive and thrive. It did. The young oak took quickly to its new spot and soon began to get taller and its small branches reached up to the sky.
That was before. Before the June bugs came. In a matter of days they had stripped my little oak bare! I couldn’t believe how fast it happened. One day a flourishing sight to behold; plenteous leaves, vibrant colors, the next a pitiful looking, mostly naked tree. The ravenous insects had pillaged the foliage leaving only bare stalks behind. I was shocked by how quickly what was once beautiful and vibrant was devoured, used up and left for dead.
Last night my wife and I were walking in the backyard following a thunderstorm. It was cool and a gorgeous sunset illuminated the clouds. As I approached my little oak I noticed new leaves, fresh buds. It was growing again. It had survived the onslaught and now dared to try once more.
I reflected this morning about how much we have in common with this tree. There are times in life, seasons, when we grow and thrive. We revel in our blessings and reach for the sky with no a doubt we will reach it.
Then the pestilence comes. Pain, difficulties, disease, doubt, betrayal, hardships, death strip us bare, seemingly stealing all the joy and beauty life had to offer. Afterwards we’re left with the remnants, the despoiled stalks of our dreams, faith and sense of worth.
The choice becomes will we try again. Do we dare look longingly into the sky and hope, when our brokenness and bareness mocks us? Can we trust enough to open ourselves up even with the possibility of repeatedly being hurt? Are we willing to take the chance when we are offered no guarantee of not being stripped bare and once more left for dead? It’s the decision we all must make.
It’s the choice to live…again.