There is a Carolina dogwood in our front yard. I’ve been watching it go through the seasons for more than 20 years.
Our Natural Cycles
In the fall, its leaves turn a brilliant, dark red, before it gives them up and goes bare for the winter.
Every March I am filled with anticipation as the tight little buds appear. And because this tree holds on to those buds longer than the other trees in the neighborhood, I start to worry that the last cold snap has stolen away its blooms.
But every year it blooms–and when it does, there is something so magical about it, I have a genuine sense of awe, as though I’m seeing it for the first time. When I drive up to the house, I stop in the driveway to gaze at it. When I go out for the paper it reaches to me over the sidewalk. I can see it through the window of my office and it waits there to lift my heart every time I look out.
Everything in Time
Like me, my dogwood is a late bloomer. It doesn’t care about being early–so it doesn’t give up all of its blooms on the first warm stretch of possibility. It seems to know that life is not a mere timeline. And it It is never so loaded down with blooms that it looks solid. Instead, there is wispy grace and nuance about the way its canopy is layered.
This tree stands in the seasons knowing its time will always come every spring to sing as though it were the first time. By the time the lush greenery begins to fill in around the blooms, it is completely restored.
Peaks, Valleys & Renewed Energies
As I get older, I notice that many people see life as one great warm stretch of possibility that will peak before life is done. They stop looking for renewal and begin to speak of “retirement.”
For me, I believe in a deepening renewal of my work, through an on-going discovery of the giftedness God has given me. My job is to become more and more of who I really am – and in that commitment, offer value to others.
Belonging and Grace
I am in awe of many things. The renewal of my dogwood. The passion and nobility in all of us. The way we recognize each other as human beings through the sound of an authentic, uncontrived voice. When it happens, it is simply powerful. There is no end to the possibility, only renewal to a greater sense of meaning, belonging and grace.