A picture slowly entered my mind over the course of the day, and it was a tree, from the perspective above ground and below. Initially, it started with the thought of one single root. It was as if this root was made to grow straight downward. Because in the deep soil was where all the nutrients lie in wait – those that feed all trees. Sweet nutrients such as eternal perspective, mercy, true shalom, grace, love for enemies, humility, servanthood, benefits of doubt.
The further down it grows, the more lush, colorful, vibrant and oxygenating the tree above ground becomes. It is almost as if far below it, there rushes an underground River, making flourishing ever-available.
Over time, without careful attention, this root slowly finds its way closer to the surface like the needle of an upside down dial. Subtly cutting its way up through the layers, abandoning its Creator’s original intent, to dwell in the good soil where truth is somehow unbiased, untainted. It just IS.
Still embedded in the ground, but becoming embittered by pesticides along the topsoil that trickle down with trodding and rain, the root begins to lose some of its carrier-capacity. Those pesticides boast of their labels: Righteous Anger, Justice and Scientific Superiority. But rip the labels off and look inside them – you will find poison. The poison of Fear.
Ironically, if the needle were to move in the exact opposite direction, past the rich middle and through the same layers of now opposing narrative, close to the same topsoil, only on the other side, it would still be embittered and weakened by the same poison of Fear. On this side, the labels are different. Well, two are. Protection. Selflessness. And Scientific Superiority.
All the labels claim to kill threats to life and growth of the same tree. Their claims are deceiving. Their poison distorts.
Balance is begging for a resurgence. That soft middle ground is waiting for the root to find its way back where love, not fear, fuels every response. Where the grappling for control over a loved one’s choice is revealed as fruitless. And that’s ok, because love is never controlling. Where thankfulness and faith are being siphoned up every thirsty vein to feed the most full, productive tree for onlookers to admire.
Its abundant branch tips almost seem to intently point up, far past the clouds.