June 14, 2017
While working in the garage, I was distracted by looking out the window at a tree across the street. Admiring its size and beauty, I thought about how it enhanced the house it stood in front of. It was one that remained after a number of others were taken down because of root damage to the sidewalks. This one survived the siege and was a statement of time, strength and beauty – or so I thought.
Minutes later, I heard the noise of equipment arriving, so I returned to the window. Several men with the appropriate equipment destroyed that tree, shredded it into chips and removed the stump. Within 30 minutes, the tree was only a memory.
I understand the safety of pedestrians to be more important than any tree, and I respect the experts to know what had to be done. But I cannot help but wonder if there could have been some way to salvage the tree and still provide a safe walking place. My comment to Carol went something like this: “The only thing left of that tree for me is a Ponder.”
I thought about how many years of planning, money and hard work goes into projects that are destroyed by natural forces in a matter of minutes. I remembered people who have given years of attention and mentoring to individuals whose future was so promising but was lost in a foolish decision. I thought about how a life of influence can destroy trust with a moment of selfish indulgence.
Fortunately, these human failures can be corrected and trust restored over time when we acknowledge our wrong and commit to doing right. Time will be lost and influence damaged, but we can recover and even use the situation as an opportunity to help someone else in their journey. We do not need to be destroyed by our failure, but we will be if we do not face the situation directly and deal with it appropriately.
I used the event to check the tree in front of our house to make sure it was not showing signs of damage. And more important, I have spent some time reviewing my own life and attitude to look for areas that might not be up to the purity and perspective that Creator God intends. A new tree can be planted, but we have only one life.
Pastor Bill Ehmann