This post has been rattling around in my heart the last few days. It started, though, when we were driving up our street a little over a week ago and saw a tree company was hauling away big pieces of a tree from the golf course near our house. We quickly realized that it was this tree. This big beautiful tree that I have loved ever since we saw it when we moved here. I have no idea how old it was but it was huge and majestic. I even hit it with a few golf balls along the way. I always loved walking by that tree when we would walk our dog on early mornings or on cold winter days (times when golfers aren’t out on the course). But not sure what happened, but the tree came down about a week ago. Now all that remains is the ground up stump that was left.
I knew I needed to write about this but it wasn’t until I came to Matthew 12 and 14 that I saw a connection. Matthew 11 tells the story of Jesus being questioned by the prophet John (via John’s followers) about whether Jesus really was the Messiah that John thought him to be. The story isn’t clear about whether the questioning was a “doubtful” type or a “confirming” type but either way, Jesus responds with pointing out all the evidence of what he had been doing and then lauding John for all that John had done and also for the ways that John was also willing to set himself aside for others. When I read those verses, I thought of this tree. Majestic. Powerful. But only a few chapters later, John is cut down because of the arrogance of those in power. Like most prophets, John doesn’t get to live to a ripe, old life but instead dies at the hands of those he pushed back against. This big beautiful tree was cut down and little remains of it.
But the legacy remains. I’ll remember this tree each time I walk past there with Scout on a cold winter morning. I’ll remember the beauty of its leaves during the fall and the fullness that it had in summer. John may have died a death not deserving of one of his status but his legacy remains as we continue to tell his story thousands of years later.