Yes, I spoke to a tree, it may sound weird or even impossible, but it did happen to me. I like to think of it as one of those moments in life where God stops you in your tracks, stops time, touches the place of your greatest need, and then tells you to move ahead.
One early morning, I took a walk down the street, heading home. I dug my hands deep into my pocket to keep it from freezing in the cold winter breeze. It was a beautiful morning; I could not help but wonder how the sun could be smiling in the winter. Anyway, I walked down that road thinking about the next phase of my life, asking myself the would I, could I, should I questions. Questions like “What am I doing here? Should I stay or should I go? Will I make it? flowed through my mind. I thought about the past one year and all that had happened, it was sad, but I knew with a sense of finality that my journey on this land had ended, I needed to move on. Things didn’t seem to be looking good, all the words God had spoken to me, the promises and all came rushing through my mind, but I had to admit that I didn’t really feel like I had achieved anything in the past one year. I felt like I had given so much but had nothing in return, no reward.
Then I lifted my head and saw this big and magnificent tree, however, it had lost all its leaves, it stood bare and naked. I cast my mind to a few months back, when I had stared in awe of the beauty of the tree with its green leaves and beautiful flowers; I had even taken a picture of it. The tree looked nothing like it had been in summer, I wondered if the tree had feelings too, the words of Pocahontas song came to mind “...but I know every rock and tree and creature, has a life, has a spirit, has a name...” Maybe the tree felt worthless too, having lost all its beauty and magnificence. I walked past the tree shaking my head and returning to my own thoughts and misery
Suddenly, I felt a tap on my shoulder; I looked back but didn’t see anyone. I thought one of the dry sticks from the tree had fallen on my shoulder. I mindlessly dusted off my shoulder and walked on,
I looked back but didn’t see anyone, my brain immediately told my legs to run.
“I’m talking to you young lady”
I turned and saw the tree move; I instantly wanted to pee in my pant.
“Why you giving me that pitiful look and shaking your head like you ain’t got common sense?”
The tree had the African American accent or was it the constant days of watching Madea movies that was finally getting to me? I couldn’t utter a word.
“You lost your tongue?”
“I’m sorry” I finally said, “I didn’t mean to”
“Is that all you gat to say for yourself? It used its branch to push me closer to it “Come closer, I aint gonna bite, can’t even digest you”
I moved along with the push until I was standing right in front of the tree again.
“I know you, I always see you when you walk past me. I saw you take me a picture the other day which you never showed me, but I ain’t mad”.
I still couldn’t talk, I really needed to pee.
“I’m gonna teach you something today young lady, don’t go looking at me with pitiful eyes, I know how magnificent I used to look and can imagine how I look like now. I ain’t bothered, you know why? Cos I know it’s the changing of seasons, it’s natural. But what I wouldn’t want to happen is to be looked upon with pity. I have my glory days ahead of me. Let me tell you something, God knows what he was doing when he created every living thing and he wired in everything he created the ability to function in any situation. Now, take we trees for example, when its summer, we’re all beautiful and stunning, in winter, we’re all dried up on the outside, but not on the inside. We are working within to nourish ourselves so when the seasons change, we’d be able to spring out more fruit and beauty, it’s our preparation stage and we need to work on our inside. Why do you think the next season after winter is called spring?”
I was getting really interested in where the conversation was headed.
“You remember the story of fig tree in the bible?” The tree continued. “That’s the most foolish tree that ever existed and we other trees have made an example out of it. It probably played out the season it was meant to nourish itself from within and when the seasons changed, it had no fruit, just wasn’t nourished enough to handle it. Do you know what great privilege it is for the master to take a fruit from your tree? and it wasted it, oh how I wish twas me. Anyway, whats my point? Y’all humans have seasons too, when y’all get dried up and act all miserable when you should build strength on your inside and prepare for the next season”.
“I know you are feeling all dried up now, the past one year has drained you of all you have and right now, if you were a tree, you would probably look just like me...maybe worse. But you’ve got to pucker up gurl and grow your spirit man. I tell you, the season is changing and you certainly don’t want to be caught unawares when it does and be like that foolish fig tree. Stop thinking your life is over and spend time growing from within”.
“Did you just read my mind?” I asked foolishly
“No gurl, I just told you my mind. Now run along, I gat to get back to my nourishing, I gotta look even better when the seasons change alright. Now you don’t go blaming God or thinking he has abandoned you, go grow your spirit and strength young lady, the season’s changing, be prepared, don’t be like that old foolish fig tree, you don’t want a curse on you now do ya? You never know when the Master will pass by. Now, come back in Spring and take me another picture, I’ll be looking out for you. Now run along”.
I stood staring at the tree for another 2 minutes, not sure what I was expecting, maybe I thought it would shoo me away again. I walked back home with a new knowledge of my situation and a determination to grow from within during this period. Thinking about the fig tree made me shiver, the Master passed by and needed it’s fruit and it was ill prepared, the thought of missing my moment of blessing with God made my resolve stronger. I would stop complaining and being miserable and grow my spirit and when Spring comes, I’ll spring up much more beauty, love, kindness and so much more to offer to God and everyone around me.
So help me God, Amen.