“The soul was made to rest in God the way. . .
a tree rests in soil.” – John Ortberg
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I love to be outside. I think I could live outside if the weather never got cold here in Kansas. Every morning my yellow lab waits for me to get my coffee and we head outside for quiet moments in the back yard. It is the time I try to get my head on straight before my day gets too busy.
One morning I had the thought – A tree never gets to move. They are continually in the same place and they have no say about where they are planted. Obviously, you say. But when I think about it in terms of where I am planted in this big world, it takes on a new meaning for me.
A tree seed or plant is put into the ground by the wind or by the hand of man. It may blow into rocky soil, clay soil, shade or sun. It may be protected from the wind by other trees around it or be out in a field all by itself. It cannot move from the heat of day or the cold wind of winter. It can’t give itself water when it is thirsty, or fertilizer when it needs nourishment. It can’t stop the rain from beating it down or ice building up and breaking it’s branches. It accepts what nature or God throws at it and just rests. It just grows wherever it is planted. It moves only when the wind blows it’s branches.
Do the squirrels tickle it as they romp around it’s branches? Does the tree enjoy the song of birds who rest there? Do the bugs irritate and itch it as they crawl inside it’s bark. Does it have laughter and music and irritations just as we do?
I was transplanted from Ohio to Washington state and then again to Kansas. It was hard to leave my family in Ohio and hard to leave the beautiful mountains, water, and friends in the Pacific Northwest. One day when I was driving around Wichita, Kansas, I saw a sign that said, “Port of Wichita”. I started to cry. I got mad. I yelled to no one, “There isn’t a port here! There isn’t even water here!” I didn’t realize until that moment how much I was missing another place.
I have learned to accept where God has transplanted me and my family. But it takes time. Fortunately, God is patient. I have opened my eyes to see the beauty here where I am planted. I live in the Great Plains where buffalo used to roam free. The fields of wheat and rolling hills that go on for miles and miles are breathtaking. I can almost picture an Indian on a horse at the top of the hill looking down on my car as I drive by. Cowboys and horses and farms are all around me. The people who put food on my table.
As I was trying to research who built our 1897 farm house at the historical society, I came across a great story told by a 90 plus year old lady who described a home and location that sounded just like our land and house. She said her family was just getting ready to sit down for a big Sunday dinner, when a small tribe of Indians wearing red blankets around their shoulders came up to the house. They saw her, a little girl with blonde hair and fair skin, and told her parents they wanted to take her with them. She hid behind her mother’s skirt, old enough to understand what was being said. Her father quickly offered them all the food on their table and the Indians left without taking the little girl. I can just picture this happening at our place many years ago. Indians may have walked my land or buffalo grazed over it. I love that!
The farm house may look different than when it was originally built, but the footprint is the same. The trees are much taller and the barn falling apart, but I love the history and beauty that is around me there.
I was a seed that was transplanted and maybe you have been too. It isn’t always our choice and it takes time to let our roots go down deep and get adjusted to our new location. You may not have chosen or like the place you have been planted, but I encourage you to look at the beauty around you, or if you like history, read about what happened years before you arrived. Explore the places around your new home: parks, museums, coffee shops, etc. Start a new hobby or join a book club. You may not have a field of trees around you for support. You may feel like a tree sticking out in a field all alone, but you are not. There is life all around you. Look for it!
I am a tree planted in the soil of Kansas and I am learning to let my soul rest here.