Thursday, July 18, 2019

Dealing with Relational Death and Decay

This week we realized one of our beautiful maple trees had finally died. It has been a slow death. We tried to help the tree, but its disease was stronger than our desire for it to live. The maple stands 65 feet and is positioned at the front of our property. Last night, I sat on the stairs of our porch looking toward the tree and thought of how much I will miss it.  As much as I love the tree, it needs to be taken down. Our arborist confirmed that it was indeed dead and has now become a hazard. We have a date on the books for its removal.

Early this morning, I was sitting once again on the steps of the porch looking out at the dead tree now silhouetted against the early dawn light. It literally fills the horizon. I realized when the tree is removed I will be able to have an unrestricted panoramic view of the late afternoon sky when the light reflects off the clouds and highlights the distant ridgeline of pine trees. If left in place, the dead tree would continue to fill my field of vision with its dead limbs and crispy leaves obscuring a beautiful vista, one I have never been able to fully see and appreciate. 

We have prayed over the tree for the last two years, hoping this day would never come. We sought the advice of professionals, had its limbs and branches cared for by arborists, and now, we have to deal with the reality of the tree’s death. Without its removal, I would look out on a scene of death and decay. In the end, the dead tree will become a dangerous hazard to our home and lives when the winds begin to blow with the arrival of winter storms.

Some situations and relationships in our lives will eventually die, and in their death, they will obscure our vision. They will also become a hazard if not removed. That sounds harsh to some, but it is a sad reality of life. We all need to establish healthy and life-giving boundaries. There are times when we will have to make a decision to define that boundary with the blade of incisive clarity. 

These dead issues will someday become a hazard to our spiritual and emotional life and limb when the winds of change and challenge begin to blow.  Leaving them in a place of influence will create an unnecessary hazard to our lives and to the lives of those around us. Their removal is not a callous act without a process of love that offers redemption options while always trying to believe the best. But at some point, they will need to be lovingly removed from the landscape of our lives. When this happens, we will see something that was hidden by a scene of death and decay, something that would have remained hidden had we had not taken action.

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