Fire rages through the mountains in Idaho this past summer and we sit glued to our television screens.
It’s in the back of both of our minds but neither of us says it right away,
but it’s there,
You see, there is a tree.
A tree that started out, who knows when, a tiny seed that fell into soft dirt, growing into a slight sapling that kept reaching for the sun – stretching, reaching, growing stronger and steady and roots sink deep.
I only saw that tree once,
knelt down in the dirt underneath it and traced the footprint that bore witness to my husband’s finding.
Only looked up once to see that strong and steady branch marked and marred by a rope that desperation and despair hung from.
That tree grew, ring upon ring, and became scarred by death, and as a summer fire raged up and down canyons and valleys, we couldn’t help but wonder, was the tree gone too?
Four years have now passed since I looked up and saw his dad walk out the door. Four years since that first night we went to sleep wondering where he was…four years since he saw the face of Jesus for the very first time.
And all the emotions and grief come rushing in as Zeruiah cries and I know she’ll never know the sound of her Papa’s soft hush.
Like that tree scarred by the grip of a rope, our lives are scarred by the grip of suicide.
But, in God’s goodness, there is another tree.
Another tree where all pain and sin and shame was nailed. Where Christ’s flesh ripped and blood oozed and the weight of it all boiled.
That tree, cut down and formed into a cruel cross was where my Savior was hung.
And this could be just another tree marked and scarred by death…
But the One Who died on that wood broke the curse of sin when He gave up His last breath.
And He lives. He lives still and a tree that brought death is now beauty that sings grace and I can grieve today. And I can hurt today, and I can miss him today…
But I do it all with hope.
Our lives are scarred by the ripping of death, but oh,
they are held together by The One Who gives hope.
I miss you, Dad…