Yep, trees. Yesterday was Thanksgiving and I spent a lot of time this week thinking about the impact trees have on my life. On all our lives.
It all started with a tree. Adam and Eve were permitted to eat from all of the trees in the Garden of Eden, except for one. Long story short, they ate fruit from the forbidden tree and gained knowledge of good and evil. God forgave Adam and Eve, but he didn’t undo their knowledge, which is why we are all broken.
Despite our brokenness, God loves us. He gave His one and only son because He loves man. We nailed him to a tree. Despite this, God loves us.
We each have our own tree. My roots are growing deeper the more I learn, love, and trust Christ. And my branches extend far through my friends and family.
So this Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for my tree. I’m thankful that God forgave us when we ate from the forbidden tree. And that God gave us His son, and forgave us when we nailed him to a tree. I’m thankful that God loves me for me, and to thank Him I nourish my roots with reading Scripture, worshiping and praying. I’m also thankful for my friends and family, my branches that protect me, give me shelter and push me to reach farther.
This week I woke up in the middle of the night with a great blog post idea. I assured myself while I was falling back to sleep that I didn’t need to write it down because it was way too good to forget. I forgot it.
But then I remembered it later in the week. Luckily, I was lucid this time and had paper and a pen. And since it has come to me twice, I’m taking that as a sign that this is something I need to address.
I’ve been officially single for a whole year now. Was it a long year? Yep. Did I learn a lot? You bet. Were there stumbling blocks along the way? Several, and they were huge.
I’m sure there are a lot of qualities friends and family members notice about me that have transformed in this year. But inwardly, the biggest difference I see in myself is how I deal with things. I still feel that flight or fight instinct when I’m in an uncomfortable situation, and I still feel anger and sadness for how I’ve been treated in the past, particularly by men. But, the way I now deal with these feelings is worlds different than just a year ago.
I’ve grown to see that I don’t need a partner. Would it be nice? Sure, but so would a million dollars. This realization goes so much deeper than just saying it. After all, I knew all along I would be fine on my own. But actually living it for a year was a completely different story.
I also see the value of taking the time to get to know someone. I’ve always been rushed when it came to feelings of the heart. As you can see from my track record, that usually doesn’t work out for the best. I know every couple has their own path and some are faster than others. But I’ve seen my path needs to slow down considerably. For me, rushing into something is foolish and fostering a meaningful relationship takes a lot of time, particularly with my neurotic tendencies and trust issues.
Right now, I’m in a good place, and I love being single. Maybe someday that will change, but for the moment I answer only to myself and God, and that’s been a long time coming.
Until recently I didn’t know the term “Indian Giving” wasn’t politically correct. Once I found out, I was obviously embarrassed.
Apparently, the actual meaning of Indian Giving is the complete opposite of what I thought it was– Americans giving Native Americans pieces of land, and then taking it away once they realized the land had worth. The term actually refers to Native Americans giving gifts to the Pilgrims and expecting gifts in return. It sounds to me like a classic case of miscommunication, since the Native Americans were probably trying to trade goods with the Pilgrims.
Anyway, my entire life I’ve never really been able to accept a gift. I’ve always felt indebted to the gift-giver, and didn’t feel satisfied until I felt I had repaid the gift.
This year, I’ve learned that gifts aren’t supposed to be returned. Knowing the definition of “gift” wasn’t enough. I had to actually experience it.
I recently spent a week in the Canadian wilderness with a group of women. During the trip, we each had to focus on how our individual strengths would strengthen the group to ensure we made it to our campsite each day before dark. We also each had to accept our weaknesses and know not one of us was fully equipped to complete every task without the help of each other.
While in the wild, my weaknesses glared at me and I became frustrated with myself for being unable to do certain tasks on my own. Every time I failed or had to accept help, I punished myself.
The wilderness broke me. I had to realize and accept that I can’t do everything on my own. I had to humbly accept help and lean on the strengths of others. I had to trust God in that he put together our group knowing we would each bring out strengths and weaknesses to the wilderness. I had to accept the gifts of grace, patience and mercy the women showed me knowing that I might not be able to give those gifts back.
And then I had to gift myself grace, mercy and patience.