Hope and I drove past a bunch of trees. I say “bunch” because we weren’t at first sure whether it was woods or grove, planted by wind and animal seedfall or by someone with a future eye.
It was the latter. Someone drew lines, dug holes, placed saplings, tended.
They weren’t pine trees, the usual suspects for rows. It wasn’t an orchard, the other usual suspects. These were tall straight deciduous trees. Perhaps they were maples, in a sugar grove. Perhaps they were ash, barely avoiding the borer killing their kin.
As we drove on, I realized I have no plot for planting a slow-growing grove of trees. No place like the land my great-grandfather homesteaded a century and more ago. No place like the farm noted thirty years ago for being in Nancy’s family for 150 years.
It made me sad. Because I know the stories about trees being an investment in the future, about planting for future generations. In our transience, I’m not sure what trees I’m leaving for Hope and Andrew and Allie. I have no sense that they will live on the same land or even on the same continent.
Then I quit worrying about it. About the tree part. Who cares where they live, whether grandchildren can pick up acorns from trees I plant in faith? The deeper question is what I’m planting in their hearts. If I plant the value of a particular place, then if they are far from it, there will be a sense of loss. If I plant and nurture the value of a particular character, of a careful obedience, there may loss if they are far from it, but finding it again will be much closer.
And if I can show a God who is steady even with my fitful faithfulness?