Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Divine Providence Via Earthly Forms

In the front yard of the house my husband and I called home for 10 years, sat the most magnificent birch tree you have ever seen. If you know anything about birch trees, you should know that they are a bit finicky, not terribly sturdy, but absolutely breathtaking when in full foliage. They are notable for their distinctive white-bark characteristic and easily identifiable. These trees normally have a short life (in tree years) lasting 15 to 20 years at best. This tree was planted by the original owners of the home and was well past its 15 year life span when we bought the house.

This special tree was one of the reasons we fell in love with the house in the first place. Many of our fondest family memories were photographed in front of this tree. The first day of school, homecoming, prom, school dances, birthdays, and visits by relatives were often chronicled with the birch tree background. Don took tremendous care of the tree pruning it when necessary and supplying the tender loving care such a special tree required.

After selling the house, the new owners apparently had an aversion to anything arborous. All of the grand trees landscaping the yard were relentlessly cut down, including the special birch tree in the front yard. It was heartbreaking to drive by the property and see it stripped of its distinctive backdrop. To be honest I have, most likely, driven by the house for the last time.

Before I continue this story I need to let it be known that I am a believer in divine providence; that Godly intervention does exist in our lives and when it is so blatantly presented to us we should claim it. I am claiming that the God who made me is also present in my everyday life; constantly providing courage and solace via earthly forms. Here is just such an example.

Tonight at my youngest son’s baseball game, I met the previous owners of our new home purchased after Don’s death. We introduced ourselves and began discussing the many life decisions which led to them to selling the house to me, then moving to Canada and now moving back to our small town. I narrated the story of how we came to buy the home from him. I complemented the beautiful landscaping of the yard and how it was a real selling point to us. I also explained the difficulty I experienced driving by our old home without the birch tree and the significance of the tree in our lives. My eldest son was present and mentioned the fact that his favorite part of our new home was the weeping willow tree in the backyard.

I noticed the gentleman getting a bit of a tear in his eye as he paused a moment and then explained, “I have to tell you the story of that weeping willow tree. I just realized that it may very well be the replacement tree for the one you lost.”

As he began his story I sensed that this was a difficult issue for him to discuss, yet he had an urgency to do so. It seems this man and his wife lost a child before they moved to the house I am currently living in. They planted a weeping willow tree in their yard as a remembrance. When they moved they carefully uprooted the tree and replanted it into what is now my backyard. With emotion the man said that he now believes that the weeping willow tree was a replacement for the birch tree we no longer could even visit.

I am constantly amazed at the providence of God—the way he holds us and endlessly provides us with avenues in which healing is possible. The boys and I have always acknowledged that this tree in our backyard was special. We had an impression of its importance in our lives long before we had this man’s story as an assurance. Since we have moved into this house the beautiful weeping willow tree has become the new photo backdrop which chronicles our lives. It will stand as a memorial of the past, as well as a symbol of hope the future will bring.

This I know for sure.


Pentha said...


Marsha said...

Thank you Pentha--I was hoping to get that effect--it is difficult to put into words the moment---you made my day

Fred said...

Marsha, thank you, once again, for remnding us that God is alive and touches our lives every day if we will only notice. Isn't it great that we have "living things" placed in our lives that, in a sense, we can draw life from?

Trish said...


What an amazing God we serve.

The other side of the story is what that conversation meant to the previous owner of your home. To know that the weeping willow lives on, and that those that now cherish it, can understand the significance in ways that most others could not.

Peace my friend,