Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Pine Trees

The pine trees are gone; cut out several weekends ago. They've been looking sickly for several years now. No pine needles on the bottom half and some of the higher branches dead and brown. Over the years my husband, B, asked me several times to schedule an appointment to remove them. Somehow I just couldn't do it. Although diseased, these old things are somehow a comfort to me.

The morning they came, B and I went to Starbucks for coffee. When we pulled into our driveway we saw the ladder propped up against the tree and several large branches on the ground. As I gathered my things from the car, I felt a lump of sadness in my gut and my eyes started watering. I pushed these "silly" tears away and got out of the car.

On and off for the next few hours we watched their progress. My "silly" tears continued to occupy my gut.

These past weeks have been especially difficult. I'm feeling stretched at work...new topic, new technology, and using skills that expose my weaknesses. Also, I've been facing decades old emotional wounds...the kind you shove into a closet and lock up tight.

I recently discovered that my faith teaches me to face painful wounds. It's part of the healing process. I decided to open the locked door. I acknowledged the hurt as real and legitimate. I've been grieving and at times find myself weeping. In these moments I've found truth in the Psalmists words, "The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."

These old wounds are infected just like my pine trees. It's time to face this fact. I'm treating them; no longer practicing denial. Oddly enough, I'm discovering that as I uncover and "look them in the face", they are loosening their grip over me. I'm seeing them for what they are, nothing more and nothing less.

The trees and stumps are now gone. Initially the area felt bare and empty. Today it feels open and free. I'm getting used to it. I actually kind of like it and suspect our big healthy maple tree will like the additional space to spread its beautiful canopy.

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(Updated:  Here is a followup post I wrote 18 months later.)

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