Saturday, February 7, 2009


By Joyce Kilmer.

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

In the quietness of my final years I intend to watch a tree grow. It's a birch tree I planted as a tiny sapling over thirty years ago. It stands now in mature splendor, just outside our living room picture window, beautiful in every season of the year.

Occasionally I hear from folks I ministered to years ago. I discover to my great delight that, though I've lost sight of them, they've continued to grow in grace and godlikeness. It's a gentle reminder that I may plant and water for a while, but only God can make tree.

Herman theologian Helmut Thielike wrote, "The man who doesn't know how to let go, who is a stranger to quiet confident joy in him who carries out his purposes without us (or also through us or in spite of us), in him who makes trees grow... that man will become but a miserable creature in his old age... Can the reason why many aging people are melancholy and fearful of having the door shut upon them be that for decades they have never been able to 'let go and let God' and now can no longer see a tree growing and therefore are nothing but run-down merry-go-rounds?"[1]

And so, in my final years, though I may yet plant a sapling or two, mostly, I intend to watch my trees grow.


[1] The Waiting Father, James Clarke & Co. Ltd Cambridge, 1978, p. 86,87.

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