“Let the field exult, and everything in it.
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy.”
This afternoon we drove to the National Arboretum to view the fabulous bonsai collection. Even though it was a warm and sunny day, some might wonder about why one would go and see trees, many of which had lost their leaves–it is, after all, the end of November. However, I find this time of year, after the deciduous bonsai trees have lost their foliage, to be one of my favorite times to see these amazing specimens.
With the canopies of their leaves gone, you can see how they have been trained and formed–many of them for well over a hundred years of time. One of the oldest bonsai trees in the world resides in this collection (a pine tree that has been in training since 1625, being cared for by one family now for six generations). Each of the trees is the result of thousands of hours of care and attention. Each is unique and beautiful. Of the many dozen trees that comprise the collection, there is one that stands above the others, in my opinion:
You can almost feel the mighty rush of wind blowing to the left as the tree tries to grow to the right. Much like how we can sometimes feel the force of God moving in and around our lives, blowing us one way as perhaps we try to go the other.
I’ve grown and trained bonsai for only a small amount of time now, but I marvel at just how many hours of work it takes to shape and prune, to fertilize and water, to care and fuss over my small collection of trees. The master bonsai grower considers every twig of every branch, examining and thinking about them in terms of how each fits into the whole movement of the branch, and then how that branch in turn fits into the shape and overall movement and shape of the tree.
In so many ways we are like these trees, being pruned in places to promote new growth, being watered and fertilized, each leaf examined, each branch considered…and at every moment tended to and loved by God.
Yesterday I’m sure there was a moment when you stopped to give thanks…for family, friends, those you love and who love you–your list was your own. Today, stop and give thanks for the many ways that God has shaped and formed you, in moments of joy and sorrow, with people who love and care for you, with people you can’t stand or find difficult in the best of times, with your own will and character that are also gifts from God. God continues to love and to form you, and will every moment of every day of your life. You are beloved of God, worthy of God’s time and attention, worthy of the master of all creation’s care and tending to, becoming the glorious work, the prized possession of God.