Thursday, August 23, 2007

plans (pt II): tree parable

When we moved to this undisclosed location we call home over four years ago, our front yard had this massive mesquite tree. Mesquites are good for one thing: burning at BBQs. But this tree was huge and majestic. Like maybe it would be a crime to remove it.

The mesquite had a massive trunk and only five limbs. It looked like a giant hand sticking out of the ground. If it wasn’t for the huge trunk, there would be no shade. Then a huge limb (one of the five) fell on the sidewalk one day. Thankfully, there was no innocent kid under it. So I learned that $50 would rent me a chainsaw for the day. It was time for it to live its destiny and become BBQ wood.

Later on, we planted a few trees throughout our property: five transplanted oak trees and a red bud from a friend, and four store bought trees. After a year only two survived.

We made a flower bed where the mesquite use to be an planted wild flowers. At the end of the season I cleared the dead flowers and discovered this small tree about 12 inches tall. So I left it. It turns out to be a fruitless mulberry, which is a fast growing shade tree.

Now three years later, that volunteer tree from the flower bed is taller and fuller than the other one in the front yard, which was six foot tall when we planted it a year before this volunteer tree came about.

I don’t understand why only two of the ten or so trees we planted have survived. And I don’t understand why a tree that planted itself from a seed is bigger and healthier than the two survivors we bought at six foot tall. This wasn’t my original plan, but all is working out OK.

The old mesquite I took down: it took up valuable resources (water, space) and gave back little or nothing. And it was slowly falling apart.

The ten planted trees: only two lived after a year.

A volunteer tree: bigger and healthier than the two survivors.

It’s not wrong to try to make things happen. I think it’s kind of like John 21 where the guys were throwing their nets all night. Then Jesus shows up and says, “throw it on the RIGHT side of the boat”.

I think most plans and efforts are man-made. And that’s not always a bad thing.

But sometimes our plans don’t work. And if we allow him to, the CEO may show up with a better way.


Talitha koum said...

It is interesting to me that I had this same experience this year. I planted like crazy. I loved my garden. then some weird things happened, like too much rain , chickens eating my carrot seedlings, digging up portions of my garden, donkey's destroying portions and eating my corn. We never put up the tomato crates for support, they did not produce well. Etc, etc. I do have several composts around the property. Two of which produced, and in still producing cherry tomatoes galore. I also have romas and pumpkins and squash that just kept coming. Thanks for the parable, I too, gave it a lot of thought.

JesusFreak said...

Trish: Where the heck do you live that you have chickens and donkeys going through your garden???

B: That's a good word.