The weekend is almost spent and still I am restless and I feel as though I have been twisted and wound tight like a spring. Long hours for many days at a quick and intense pace have left me drained. Although I have only worked for my employer a couple of hours this weekend, I have spent the remaining time trying to catch up on holiday plans for the coming week and family relationships that have been neglected due to my work schedule, and the adrenaline created by the hurried pace has left my mind jumbled and unable to focus.
The late afternoon sunlight streams in through the kitchen windows, as I wonder about the house aimlessly, unable to relax or rest. The day feels unseasonably warm and were it not for the long shadows created by the low hanging sun that sits far to the south on the western horizon, it could almost pass for late spring or early fall. The only sound is the echo of the wind as it whistles through the silent house on this sleepy Sunday afternoon.
I gaze out into the warm sunlight and watch the high winds lay the prairie grass low and the occasional tumble weed dance through the pasture as it is tossed recklessly by the wind. As I stand there bathed in the warmth of the sunlight, my thoughts lift heavenward and I mumble a prayer for peace and clarity, but today, even my prayer seems unfocused and a cluttered tangle of disjointed thoughts.
While I stand there and stare aimlessly out into the afternoon, the apple tree in my yard catches my attention. Although it is not very big, the dwarf tree is sturdy and only the upper branches of the tree sway slightly in the wind. I am reminded of the words that I once wrote to a friend almost ten years ago – words that had come to my heart staring out of this same window while strong spring winds had blown and buffeted the young tree. It was a different season, both in the year and in my life, but for some odd reason I have kept the piece of notebook paper where I had jotted those words before copying them onto a card. I retrieve it now and read the words once more:
“The West Texas wind has beaten hard on my little apple tree this afternoon, yet I notice it still remains upright, thanks to stakes that support it. It grows because it draws its nourishment from the soil and the water supplied by God, that is its source, but without the stakes it would surely be bent and broken by the wind that buffets it so hard.”
My mind travels back to the day that I had stared out this same window and, unraveled and worn, I felt like that little tree pummeled in the wind. That day, the Lord brought to my mind that like the little tree that drew its nourishment from the soil, He was my source but in His divine mercy, He had also provided friends who had supported me much like the stakes were supporting my tree. I remembered how humbled and awed I had been that day at the mercy and grace that were extended to me and my heart overflowed with gratitude and praise.
Today as I watch, the tree barely even moves in the harsh wind, and I notice that the trunk is thick and sturdy. The tree has now anchored itself firmly into the soil and its roots grow much deeper. It is now secure in its foundation and has begun to bear fruit with the seasons.
I wonder, have I grown like the tree? Are my roots anchored deep and have I firmly planted myself in the soil of faith that holds me steadfastly to my source? I am reminded that were it not for the rain, there would be no growth and were it not for the wind, there would be no need to anchor deep.
The thought makes me thankful once more and slowly I feel peace begin to wash over me as once more my heart overflows with gratitude for grace.