Inspiration from this week


So many of you have told me of the serenity you feel or have felt among trees.  This week I read this in a newsletter and had to share it here.  With all my love…inspiration from this week:

Trees are Sanctuaries
by Herman Hesse

[Listen to Audio!]

Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farm boy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow.

Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.

A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.

A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.

When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.

A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one’s suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother.

So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.

What mother wouldn’t want this too?

Note:  For my lovely followers who might read this and worry for me, I wrote before that I will try to be brave enough to enter into my desire, no matter how uncomfortable or scary it may be.  I truly believe God finds me there and so as I read the gospel for today (Luke 7:11-17) I allowed myself to become the mother in the story grieving for her lost son.  But please know that I do this with the utmost hope and trust in Divine Mercy…at least I tell myself this and offer it as a prayer.


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Jesus encounters a widow burying her only son.  He is moved with compassion for her.  He places his hand on the coffin and raises him up, back to Life.

I sink into that mother’s sorrow.  I think of Luke, in a coffin of sorts, of his mind’s own making, but real nonetheless.  What mother has not burned with the desire for her sleeping child to awaken to Life–to be filled with the fire of living?

We mothers (wives, sisters, aunts, friends) don’t often speak these desires aloud because they betray our secret–that everything is not okay.  They are conversation stoppers, the stuff of pity and shame that we weren’t able to do better, much less be perfect.  For me this means I failed at producing a better specimen of human being.

We even sometimes want to hide the realness from our close and dear friends because we don’t want to be a burden or appear weak or less evolved or spiritual or whatever it may be.  We want to appear ordered and in control.

But I am here to tell you that everything is not okay.  I desire a better life for my son.

I desire that more that anything.  I desire for him a curiosity that spills over and conquers fear…a love so compelling that it provides the strength to break the chains that bind him to the “safety” of home…a fullness of life so overwhelming it cannot be contained in the four walls of his room.

I am grateful for small steps and steady growth but I grow impatient with what seems like an eternity as we wait for fullness and health and happiness.  This God that takes the form of a lump in my throat waits with me.  I know this to be true.

And yet, as I see Jesus approach I ask:  Where is my miracle?