by Paulette Curran.
One day last summer when I was passing the St. Mary’s chapel on my way to work on Restoration, I noticed a small tree I had never stopped to look at before.
This little tree was all alone on the small chapel lawn; someone had obviously planted it there a number of years ago. Perhaps 20 feet tall, it was a sort of adolescent tree, or perhaps it was still in its "childhood." At any rate, it was dwarfed by the nearby towering white pines.
It was a time of drought, and this poor little tree was not in good shape. All its leaves looked brown, and like the grass surrounding it, it appeared to be dead.
But at its base was a lovely little fountain; a sprinkler was spouting water all around it.
I went up to it for a closer look. Here and there, on the tips of some of its branches were a few green leaves. The tree was alive!
I was surprisingly glad. For that little tree had touched my heart, and I felt a surge of tenderness towards it. Even more than that, I was touched that someone was taking care of it.
At this time of drought, we were irrigating the crops and the flower gardens with water from the river. And the apple trees, too. But this tree?
This isn’t a desert or a prairie; this is forestland. In hundreds and hundreds of miles in all directions are millions upon millions of trees. Even in a drought, if I could judge by the ones around here, almost all were likely still standing strong and green.
Why, along the edge of the road, just between the main house and St. Mary’s, numerous saplings were crowded together, elbowing each other to get space to live and grow.
But someone cared about this tree. Someone had set up the sprinkler to water it. Someone loved it.
After that, every day as I walked by, I looked at this tree. Sometimes the sprinkler was on, sometimes not.
There’s a story here, I thought, a parable. But I didn’t know what it was or why I felt such love for that little tree, why I rejoiced in its green leaves.
Then one day it came to me: that tree is me!
God planted me on this earth. He sees my plight; he sees my fragility, my dryness, my utter inability to save myself. So he stoops down and brings me what I need.
And just as it doesn’t seem to matter to the person watering the little tree that there are millions of other trees, it doesn’t seem to matter to God that there are already billions of other people on this earth. My life is precious to him. I am a tree that Someone loves.
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