Consider the Trees

I’m usually the first one awake and this morning was no exception. I walked out to my spot in the living room, Moreton Bay glimmering on the horizon, a thin strand of silver under an overcast sky. We were blessed early last year to find a secluded rental property with incredible views, perfect for reflection and meditation. I knelt down to pray, somewhat ashamed of my recent relapse into worry; my wife and I lost our jobs early in the year due to government mandates, and since then I have been trying to get my tuition business off the ground. When I’m worried or stressed, I inevitably treat my family with less kindness and patience.

This morning, God directed my attention – don’t worry about worry – to the trees, a veritable forest of eucalypts stretching heavenward, so tall, swaying gracefully in the breeze. This natural ease overwhelmed the incessant ticking of the clock, which until then had been tapping on my shoulder. Time is passing, time is passing, it nagged. The clock pressured me to do, to act, to use whatever time was available to develop the business in some way that, admittedly, may or may not be effective. The trees called me to be, to dance in the breath of my Creator, to live by the Spirit rather than by the flesh. Look, He nourishes us with rain and sun, with rich soil – we don’t have to do a thing. Ah, but I still have to do things, so many things. Where is the balance between being and doing? What a tired, unimaginative question. The tree moves as it is moved. The leaf in the stream is racing without an ounce of effort. If I rest in the Spirit, I will inevitably do … whatever He moves me to do.

When my wife and I lost our jobs, we withdrew our children – aged 14, 12, and 10 – and resumed homeschooling (my wife had homeschooled our eldest for two years before our precocious third arrived). Our family had spent several years in mainstream education, with a few of those years at the same school together. The change this year has been, well, significant, and it has taken time to adjust. We’re still adjusting, in fact, and that’s okay. What’s the rush?

This morning, I decided I would give the morning to the family – any mornings I don’t have a class or Zoom meeting – and the afternoon to the business. My youngest has shown great enthusiasm for the drums, and talent, too. My eldest is responding in different creative ways to Fahrenheit 451, and my daughter, our secure middle child (!) is excited to contribute to the group music class I run on Tuesday afternoons. More than these activities, my kids just want me. Oh, and my wife feels perfectly at peace when she wakes to hear a happy family, sharing life and growing together.

Now, if I can only remember the trees, how they move and dance with the wind of the Spirit, completely dependent on their Creator, as we all are.

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