The tree fell down, it’s milk-white bark shattered like china across my driveway.
I climbed out of the car to move the beautiful, rotten mess of a tree, my favorite kind. It had cracked in the middle of it’s trunk, moldy, dead. My son wields the larger branches like a sword and I grumble about dangerous beauty, an overabundance of old timber in my front yard.
A metaphor, and I’ve heard it before: The shiny white surface that we show to the world can hide the ugly rotten insides that we don’t want to touch, or show, or expose or deal with. I’ve always taken this to be a warning. Deal with my rot before someone sees, or before I break, or before I shatter.
But, I met more neighbors tonight over the fragments, over the rot, than I have since I’ve moved here, and weeded the front yard, and planted flowers, and pruned roses.
My pruned branches and vibrant pansies didn’t bring them to my door. It was the rotten tree that could have killed some one, exposed at last for the disease it was, that brought them over.
I will not be well for a long time, I will not be complete until I am dead. I can and will and want to deal with the Rottenness of Me, but that is holy work, slow work, God’s work.
Along the way, He uses our ugly when we stop wrapping it up in white and confess that what we really are…is a mess.
Derrick is cutting the tree down now, a clean cut, a new start.