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  • Writer's pictureW. D. McComb

On little trees and bigger plans

A leisurely walk along the edge of a field one day became a deeper reflection about how the best laid plans in life often take an unexpected detour. Which is not necessarily a bad thing.


Once upon a time, a tree trunk began to grow. He had high hopes that one day he might support huge limbs to spread wide in all directions like the other majestic oaks. But as he grew, he realized he only had two tiny limbs on one side, and so his dream was not to be. Still, he hoped maybe he could grow tall, maybe one day be the tallest tree in the forest.

The two limbs on the scrawny trunk were lonely and jealous of limbs that had family on all sides, the kind that together could grow to spread long and strong and looming from their trunk and shade the forest floor beneath in all directions. But they accepted their fate to be second rate limbs on a second rate trunk, for they had no other options.

But one day a strong gust of wind swept along the edge of the field where the trunk and his limbs lived and blew them all down.

As the little trunk fell, he thought it must surely be the end, but by instinct he held on to the ground as firmly as he could. And somehow his roots held. But what was the point? What good was a tree lying on the ground, even if it lives?

The limbs too feared for their lives but praised their little trunk for hanging on. Still, they were devastated that their pitiful plight was now even worse. What good were limbs that can’t grow over the forest floor, even if only a little bit?

And that is when God whispered softly to himself, “I’m sorry that happened, but now I have other plans for you.”

And so a scrawny trunk and two seemingly misplaced, lonely limbs, together barely qualified to be

called a tree, a trio whose dreams were dashed when they were violently blown to the ground, suddenly found themselves with a new purpose.

The limbs would become trunks themselves, to one day grow straight and tall and strong, with families of limbs of their own to spread wide above the forest floor and provide shade in all directions, together reaching twice as far as they had hoped before.

The trunk would become the foundation and roots for two new trees unlike any other in the forest. He would be a perch for rabbit and raccoon and robin and maybe a even a seat for a weary traveler.

Together they would become a sight to give pause to a distracted passerby, to have him appreciate the beauty of it, to take a photo and tell the world about how the tree touched him and made him ponder the mysteries of God’s purpose for him and all of creation.

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