Several years ago I attended a women’s retreat. As an ice breaker, we were each asked to think of and describe a tree that stood out in our childhood memories. I watched as a smile crossed all the ladies faces as they reminisced about their special tree. A very large oak tree immediately came into my memory as a favored tree.
One very special story was told by Suzanne. She grew up in Southern Mississippi. I don’t know anyone that would not give Suzanne a perfect score on the Southern Belle scale. She is all that and a bag of chips!
Suzanne told of her favorite tree. Hers was a large Formosa tree. The Formosa tree I have learned is really a Mimosa tree from China. She told of how she would climb high in the branches of her tree, day dream, and make bracelets out of the Formosa flowers while she kept a sharp lookout for signs of her father’s approach.
We have a very large beautiful Formosa tree in our neighborhood. After all of these years, every time I see a Formosa tree I think of Suzanne’s sweet story and smile.
It is true that we may never know of the impression we leave on another’s life. I do believe each person crosses our path for a reason and a season. Shortly after this retreat, Suzanne had a terrible accident. As a treat for one of her son’s birthdays, she and the family went horse back riding. The horse Suzanne was riding was spooked and fell on her breaking her pelvis. She was not expected to fully recover. Even through immense pain and therapy she in true Southern Belle style recovered much more quickly than ever expected. And, I might add, with lipstick always on hand.
Suzanne lives in another state now. Through the gift of Facebook, I sent her a picture of our neighborhood Formosa tree. Another friend Sandra saw the post and also remembers a Formosa tree from her childhood. Her memory was not as pleasant. She remembering having to clean up those lovely flowers Suzanne made bracelets with! It, to her, was not a fond memory.
And so it is. Different memories evoke different emotions for different folks. Some of us have precious sweet childhood memories, other of us not so many. In the midst of childhood melancholy or joy, God provided us with trees to sweeten our memories. Strong limbs to cradle and shelter us as we dreamed. Thank you, Heavenly Father, for your gift of and on the tree.
For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and [that] spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. Jeremiah 17:8