I know “treespiration” is not a word, nor is zimspiration (the name of my website,) but I like the idea of inventing new words even if Webster’s won’t publish them. My made up definition of “Treespiration” is simply: the inspiration and appreciation we derive from contemplating Trees. Trees can inspire and teach. Trees offer natural and metaphorical abundance as they not only beautify the planet, but also serve to purify our air, provide food to eat, heat for our homes, and materials that we build our lives around.
This past Sunday I preached a message entitled Our Good Guardian God—which focused on the Guardianship of God. It was the first message in a two part series. As a conclusion to the message I included words of poetry from a card my daughter sent me. I shared with you how providential the timing and the substance of the poem was to me. As I write this article I am fondly looking at the card mounted on my refrigerator—it will likely stay there for a very long time. I dedicate this Pastor’s Article to my wonderful daughter, Brittany, she is one of God’s greatest gifts to me. In light of the great feedback I received regarding the poem, I offer it in print.
“The Oak Tree” A Message of Encouragement
A mighty wind blew night and day. It stole the oak tree’s leaves away,
Then snapped its boughs and pulled its bark. Until the oak was tired and stark.
But still the oak tree held its ground. While other trees fell all around.
The weary wind gave up and spoke, “How can you still be standing, Oak?”
The oak tree said, “I know that you can break each branch of mine in two,
carry every leaf away, shake my limbs, and make me sway.
But I have roots stretched in the earth, growing stronger since my birth.
You’ll never touch them, for you see, they are the deepest part of me.
Until today, I wasn’t sure of just how much I could endure.
But now I’ve found, with thanks to you, I am stronger than I ever knew.”
In the same sermon I also recited a portion of a poem written by Douglas Malloch 1877 entitled “Good Timber.” The poem was written metaphorically concerning his own childhood while working in a lumber yard in Michigan. May both poems provide some Treespiration without further dissertation. It’s a wonderful thing to be fortified and inspired by the great wonders of God in both nature and in holy writ. I hope you agree.
The tree that never had to fight
For sun and sky and air and light,
But stood out in the open plain
And always got its share of rain,
Never became a forest king
But lived and died a scrubby thing.
The man who never had to toil
To gain and farm his patch of soil,
Who never had to win his share
Of sun and sky and light and air,
Never became a manly man
But lived and died as he began.
Good timber does not grow with ease,
The stronger wind, the stronger trees,
The further sky, the greater length,
The more the storm, the more the strength.
By sun and cold, by rain and snow,
In trees and men good timbers grow.
Where thickest lies the forest growth
We find the patriarchs of both.
And they hold counsel with the stars
Whose broken branches show the scars
Of many winds and much of strife.
This is the common law of life.
He told me to tell you!
Faithfully, Pastor Robert Zimmerman