I like the idea of family trees…you know, roots, supportive limbs, waving branches. It’s a great metaphor for how we connect to the world and to each other. I like to think that we’re all connected, somewhat like the aspens in Colorado, one root underground grasping on to its neighbor. That kind of root friendly life makes us all family.
Last weekend I was blessed to see my son get married. As I considered what it now means for him to extend his family roots and embrace a whole new forest of possibilities, it struck me that these new roots for him, were now new roots for me too and that was a nice thing. I thought about his father, who attended the wedding with his wife and his aunts and uncles whom I hadn’t seen in many years, and how much they too are still my family. We may have been shaking in the wind, grafted on to other parts of the tree, but when you get down to it, we’re still connected. We’re still part of each others family tree.
Of course, then my mind looks at how God makes us all part of His family, letting us wander around somewhat rootless at times, all the while knowing we have a place, that we have a branch on His tree. We may let our branch grow a bit dormant at times, we may not see it blossom and produce much fruit, but the fact is, we’re there, always connected. One of the beauties of celebrations, weddings, birthdays, new babies, even funerals is that we come together on those occasions to remind each other that we’re still there, we’re still important as family. That’s the gift, the beautiful humanity that makes us see things that matter more clearly.
Sometimes, when I’m out here on my own, far from my family, I can forget for a moment that I have a place somewhere. I can even forget that I have a family tree. Yesterday, in a quiet time of prayer and meditation, God showed me a beautiful smooth brown tree trunk, about a foot in diameter. I didn’t really understand it as it stood there all alone very close to me. Suddenly, it opened up and a few bees started buzzing around it, and then before I knew it the whole trunk of the tree was surrounded by a swarm of bees. I watched in wonder at the life that had come from that particular tree and the sweetness that new honey might produce for those passing by. I didn’t quite understand it, but yet in some way, it made me feel better. It made me see that we don’t always know what is produced from the roots and the branches that we’ve helped to grow, but if we’re lucky, there’s a little bit of honey…a sweet buzz created around all that we’ve hoped to do.
I love my family tree! I love every time it’s had to be pruned, every time it has blossomed, every time it has stood strong in the winds and the storms of life. I love that it is totally rooted in the One who keeps it strong!