I left the ward picnic early last night and sat by this tree for a while. It didn't take long to notice that the tree had a big chunk missing, leaving the big vulnerable sky visible through a deep 'V' cutting towards the tree's center... It seemed to me that the pruner must have been a bit too vigorous with his pruning shears and had mistakenly lopped of a branch that was, in fact, important to the poor tree.
I empathized with it while I sat there for a few minutes. I think I know how it feels, because I feel that way too. Like there's a piece of me that has been mistakenly cut out, leaving me extra vulnerable and unsightly... A part of me that was, in fact, important to me.
The part of me that likes ward picnics in the park.
I hadn't even talked to anyone at the picnic before the buzzing in my core got so uncomfortable that I knew I couldn't stay. Anxiety, I think they call it. But anxiety over what? People? I guess the people part of me got lopped, I don't know. It's just that things got a little stuffy and tight as I watched people clumping together to chat, and I needed a bit more air to breathe.
The air by the vulnerable tree was perfect.
I sat there for a few more minutes and then the photographer part of my brain started thinking and I knew that if I just changed my perspective, the look of the whole tree would change.
So I started circling and, sure enough, I found a perspective in which the tree looked whole.
And then, in a moment of magic as I circled the tree a bit more, the whole tree opened right up to show me its heart.
Can you see the heart there in the middle of the tree? I love it. And I realized that the only way for this perspective to exist, was for the vulnerable perspective to exist, too.
It was a good reminder for me that I need to trust my own Master Pruner who is shaping my branches to His perspective. He is unconcerned about what His cuts might look like from the world's perspective, or even from my perspective. He's working through His perspective because He knows that His is eternal and is the only one that will truly matter in the end.
And, deep down, I believe that, too. So I must trust that he's cutting these seemingly important branches for a reason.
I may not love the ward parties or the crowds of people these days, but this mama duck reminded me that I sure love being a mama, and I am grateful that that branch is still in tact.
She had five little ducklings, just like me. And when she sensed me getting a little too close for a picture, I heard her warn her sleeping children with a short quack. The ducklings responded immediately with raised heads, and when the danger didn't go away, she led them away to safer shores.
Sorry for disturbing your slumber, Mama Duck. But thanks for giving me a beautiful moment to feel connected with another mother.