Thursday, March 7, 2019
Bare Tree Bears Life's Purpose
I parked here while waiting for someone to go to an appointment. I was using the time to zone out...maybe even Zen out. It feels like I've been zoning out a good deal of the time lately, and I've felt a little useless because of that...I have a busy life, but it's not busy like it used to be...when I had children under 18 and when I had a business to run or when I had a job... Now there are chunks of time...two or three hours at a time...when I don't have anything I have to do. (Housework doesn't count if no guests are coming, right?) I volunteer several times a week, for several hours at a time. I have two young grandchildren who spend a couple of nights a week at my house. And, of course, I travel. Road trips and more exotic affairs... But I'm wanting to figure out what is mine to do now that I'm retired and basically free to do nothing...I could read all the time. Some folks do. I could watch movies. Some folks do. I could play bridge. Some folks do. I could exercise. Some folks do. But I have time to do all these things...and cook homemade meals...and still have time left over. So what is mine to do? Write? Maybe...that is a gift I have and like but have not felt like doing much in the past few years. Maybe that's changing. Maybe that's what this is about. Yet, in the middle of this transition (if this is what it is), I parked in front of the bush in the photo. And just stared at it. This is what I realized after five minutes of contemplation: The bush is doing nothing obvious. It is not reading or playing bridge or picking up grandchildren for sleepovers.It is not delivering Meals on Wheels or helping seat patrons at Walton Arts Center performances. It is not encouraging fellow members of the Homemade Method community. It is not cleaning house. It is standing there. Quietly. Sometimes it moves in the wind or bends in the rain. Once a year, it does add some branches and it always releafs each spring, but the bush does not wonder what its purpose is. It simply thrives. Moment by moment, until the day it dies. Why can't I be as content and serene and unbothered as the bush? There's this passage in the Bible where Jesus talks about worrying...Matthew, Chapter 6. Jesus compares humans to flowers. "Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." Jesus was saying to not worry about our human needs...it will all get taken care of...but I'm also wondering if this passage indicates that I, too, have value and purpose just by standing here, like the bush. The bush offers sweet smells and colorful foliage and flowers in the summer. It offers its bare brown sculpted branches in the winter. It offers oxygen to the environment. It holds the ground together with its roots. It breaks the wind. It supports bird nests. I do as much. No, I do way more...and I even offer carbon dioxide to the bush! I do all of this even when I am spending time on trivial matters.