It's an old tree. I'll bet if I could see its rings, they'd go round and round--internal circles of patience and wisdom. I love this tree.
The ancient oak is stationed just down the road from my home. It is huge, but not looming. Welcoming. Its limbs are dark arms. Often I climb up into those boughs, an embrace. I rest there, leaning my back against the tree's sturdy trunk.
The tree has heard my buried secrets, my longings, my praise, my prayers, my supplication.
This oak tree reminds me of God. The listener. It's easy to love someone who listens. You know the feeling--the experience of being in their presence. They look at you, and you perceive they're moored to whatever it is you're saying, telling. They're unrushed. They're not waiting to get a word in--head tilted to one side, an ear cocked. They don't want to miss anything you have to say. They lean forward. You relax. You don't have to hurry up and finish what you're saying, because you can tell that they're not dying to say something--to assail you with their piece, their opinion. And your story spills out, like a spool unwinding, a sail unfurling. Their silent attention brings clarity. Truth surfaces.
And good listeners do reply. They let you know they've heard. They ask provocative questions. "You're tired today. You'd like to take a few hours for yourself. What are you thinking about how that will look?" And you think, "Yes, why yes, I could get out my paints. I could plant that rose bush. I could take a nap. I could...
Being heard creates energy, brings hope, affirms, helps rid the toxins, slows a racing heart. Allows breath. And breath is life.
I lift my face to the breeze. I hear the rustling leaves, whispering tree--validating my presence, reflecting my thoughts, no wish to see me go. No hurry.
I would stay. I want more and more of what I find here. Yet I know I can come back. The tree waits for me. I inhale one last time--breathe in that oxygenating peace, knowing I receive something intangibly majestic each time I come. Because He has listened so intently to me.