This is a guest post that originally began as a Facebook post, by my husband, Winston Visser.
As 2013’s days are numbered, I reflect on a year of loss, transition and opening to other possibilities: My father died at 84, sadly, after several months of worsening health physically and mentally; the practice of my vocation ended, painfully; and my perspective on future possibilities improves, slowly.
During this season I remembered events past. Once upon a time, sometime between 8 and 11 years of age, I trudged through the snow with my father to the tree lot behind the back pasture. We were searching for the perfect Christmas tree in my mind’s eye. We inspected one sparsely branched spruce after another. None looked like the one in my imagination.
Then, I saw it, in a small clearing, “The Tree” of my dreams! It was 30 feet up! From that perspective it looked perfect. Dad tried to argue me out of it. But I remained rooted in my choice.
So, with axe and saw, we hacked till, with a crack, it fell to be cradled by the snow. Six feet from the top, Dad cut then set it upright. It no longer looked perfect. It was more “Charlie Brown” than “Country Living”.
Disappointed, I wanted to look some more, but Dad said, “No. We’ve done all that work, plus wasted some 24 feet left to decay in the woods.”
So we dragged it home, set it up in a stand and spruced it up with lights, tinsel, bells and a star way on top. These filled it out a bit, bringing it closer to “The Tree” of my dreams.
Most years of my youth included such “uncouth trees”, natural, not nurtured on a lot, disappointing, yet with some decoration: acceptable.
It could be seen as the story of your and my life: looking for perfection. Then disappointed because it’s not.
Or it could be that each of us is a Charlie Brown Tree, far from perfect. But once decorated (“clothed” as the Apostle Paul writes) in Christ, perfect in God’s eyes as we’re ever going to be.
May we have eyes to see self and others as God does, throughout every season of loss, transition and possibility!
Enjoy these last days of 2013 living into the possibilities of 2014 including loss and newness.
Blessings to one and all!