Recently a friend and I were sitting together at a mutual friend’s funeral, and I told my friend a story about Old Growth Trees.
When I moved to Oregon in 2000, I didn’t understand why so many people were so upset about the cutting down of “Old Growth Trees” up there.
These giant trees were often hundreds of years old, and their trunks were as big across as an entire room in your house. It took multiple men on each side of a huge crosscut saw days to cut them down.
The quality and quantity of lumber that they produced was beyond compare, and although thoughtful lumberjacks had been re-seeding and re-planting those forests since the turn of the century, the replacement trees inevitably by comparison were smaller, weaker, and of inferior quality to what once had been.
Back in Oregon, schoolchildren go on field trips just to see the stumps of Old Growth Trees.
They look at the rings in the wood and try to count back to see how big the tree was when the Declaration of Independence was signed, etc.
Their teacher then gestures way up over her head as she tries to help the kids imagine the massive grandeur of the tree. Honestly, the real thing was way beyond their imagination.
The tragedy of these losses became very personal and very real to me when I moved back to Texas and realized that most of my really good friends were 70 and 80 year old people.
When you have older friends, you go to a lot of funerals because sooner than later, they get to graduate to heaven and leave us behind.
To me, losing these people was like losing Old Growth Trees. But there is a big difference. I have been incredibly blessed to have personally KNOWN these great, majestic Old Growth people! I don’t have to imagine how wonderful they were, because I personally enjoyed the thick, relaxing shade of their love, was awed at the expansive reach of their service throughout our community, and saw how many others were supported by their massive branches.
I knew the amazing depth of their character and the incredible quality of their souls. I knew this not because they ever posted something flattering about themselves on social media sites but because I got to spend quality time with them for which I will ever be grateful.
I was blessed to have the opportunity to observe them finding joy and humor in everyday situations as well as build houses alongside them.
To watch them deal with both good and bad times with faith, grace and humility, as well as to ask for their wise advice, and have their Christian witness point me to Jesus Christ and his Holy Word.
Oh, sure, some might have had some rough surfaces, scars and gnarled roots, but I loved them just as they were.
It is so evident to me that the basic purpose of these magnificent creations was to bring honor and glory to The Creator, rather than to themselves.
Great humility and simple gratitude for just being able to be used by God for His glory seemed to always be a central theme in the lives of my Old Growth friends.
I know where they now are, they are with their Master.
I can’t reverse time and have all of my Old Growth loved ones return to this forest on earth, and I wouldn’t even if I could. There is nothing greater that I could hope for them than to be reunited in Heaven with their beloved Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
I CAN, however, be forever grateful for the privilege of knowing these magnificent people, and frequently express my appreciation to those who are still here.
I also can take stock of the quality of MY life, and to consider if I am being the best steward possible that I can be of my time here on earth.
I am a terrible sinner saved only by Jesus’ sacrificial death in my place, and I continue to make a lot of mistakes.
I am not yet the person I had hoped to be by this time in my life, but am instead incredibly thankful that God isn’t finished with me yet.
If it’s His will, there are still new seasons for growth ahead. I look forward to them!
(Author desires to be anonymous)