It’s been a year since the big wind storm that hit Tulsa knocking down a tremendous number of trees, causing widespread power outages and leaving our neighborhood streets lined with stacks of limbs for what seemed like weeks on end. Looking back there was a somewhat humorous side of this event involving my riding mower, a lawn trailer and a request from Barbie that I drive down the River Trails to pick up a large mushroom-shaped stump for a future “yard art” project.
However on a more serious note, in the days following that wind event as I took my almost daily bike rides in the park (often having to detour around downed trees) I noticed a very telling characteristic of the vast majority of those downed trees. They were rotten or empty inside. Having lived here along Riverside for over 30 years I can even say I recognized many of these trees from my countless trips to the park. Many were majestic, stately, large and, by all appearances, healthy trees.
As I have meditated on the event this past year it has been a significant challenge for me to evaluate those “hidden” and very personal parts of my life – you know the parts I’m talking about, the parts that people rarely see because of those mad skills learned through years of layering good vibes and appearances on top of a questionable core (not unlike the rings of a tree). As a very telling metaphor involving a couple of those downed trees, there was such a large empty void in the middle that an entire different person could have fit inside.
It is hard to articulate the challenge this has been to me personally to allow the Lord to deal with those deep and unseen areas of my life, those times when I am alone with no one watching and especially those time when not alone in circumstances where I might have previously felt the need to “keep up appearances”. It has caused me to care much more what my Lord sees in my heart and to care less about what others might see (I can imagine some of you chuckling at the thought that Milton might care what others thought).
As you read this and consider the attached pictures (to include the rotten core of that mushroom-shaped stump) I exhort you to ask some deep, very telling and personal questions. “Do I want to be brought down in some publically humiliating way exposing what’s really inside”, “who am I pleasing?” and “what or who am I hiding inside?” I trust this will lead you to a deeper more intimate walk with Christ as it has for me.