He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. (Psalm 1:3 ESV)
I grew up on the Guadalupe River in the Texas Hill Country. The river banks are lined with massive cypress trees. They stretch twenty feet and more into the sky providing shade and perfect jumping off points for kids who scale their trunks and shimmy out onto the branches. The fruit is hardly edible- it is a cypress ball that oozes a sticky, piny aroma-laden goo that gets onto everything. But each spring, we’d wait for them to pop out. They were fun to play with and watch float amongst the ripples in the shimmering water. It was also a kick to come up behind someone and smear their arms. The Guadalupe Tag.
When I read Psalm 1, it reminds me of those majestic trees. They have been ther as long as I have been alive, and through my mother’s life, and my grandmother’s. In fact, they were probably alive when my grandmother’s grandmother walked the earth. Floods, drought, heat, bitter cold – year after year they keep dipping their roots deep into the water.
Let me tell you the stories of three of them. One tree by the dock became the tree we’d hang our towels on. My father screwed giant hooks into it’s trunk. Today, those hooks have almost been swallowed by the tree’s growth. Another had been bent almost in two by a powerful flood’s force almost seventy years ago, yet it is still growing today, reaching its branches over the water and its roots deep into the riverbed. Three years ago one fell. It was it’s time. It’s branches blanketed across the river, its massive trunk made a makeshift bridge between one shore to the other. Carpenters came to harvest it for furniture. Cypress wood brings in a good price. The wood is hard, beautifully marked by rings, and very bug resistant. The tree will live on.
Now I am hardly a Druid. But I do admire these trees. In fact I want to emulate them.
I want my roots in the Living Water Christ provides to sink so deep that nothing this life hands me will affect me as long as it is my time on the earth.
I want to yield my fruit, and I wouldn’t mind if it stuck to everyone because then a part of what God had done in my life would be remain with others. Christ tag.
I want to shade the ones I love from hurts by covering them in prayer the way these mighty cypress branches shade me from the Texas heat.
Even if forces bend me over, may I continue to grow – a testimony that His power is greater.
Whatever sharpness in my life stabs me, I want it to be a hook for others, so it is purposeful. Eventually, the pain will cover over, just like the hooks in the trunk of that cypress tree.
And when my times comes, may what Christ has done in my life blanket the lives of others and my story be a bridge between them and Him. May it be chopped up and used by many in stories to testify to His glory long after I am gone.