Frustrated, I slammed the door behind me and headed out down the dirt road for a morning walk. I kicked an acorn in my path. Then another.
“You’re not in a good mood, today,” God whispered through the oak trees.
“Clearly,” I replied, my voice trembling with emotion.
“What’s troubling you?” He asked with such tenderness in His voice it brought tears to my eyes.
“Everything seems to be going wrong,” I confessed. “Maybe I’m broken. Maybe I’m just not good enough.”
“Let me tell you why I created you,” God said softly. He took my hand in His. “I wanted a woman with a gentle heart—the world would need compassion. I wanted a woman who could weather adversity— others would need her strength. I created you, just as I created everyone— because you are good; because you are precious.” God put His arm around me and pulled me closer to Him. “I’ll walk with you until you remember why I love you.”
We walked for a long time; past the noon hour, well into the afternoon. We walked until I finally remembered there was no why, there was only love—unearned and freely given—grace.
I must have walked past the old tree dozens of times without really noticing it. It stood just off the path, twisted and broken from some long-ago storm. Not much remained of its once glorious stature. No long branches, no green leaves. I felt sorry for it; it had lost so much.
“Don’t feel sorry for it,” God said.
“But it was once a beautiful tree. Now it’s a bit of an eyesore,” I said honestly.
“It is the ego that grieves for what is lost. Instead, look for what can be found, and celebrate,” God answered gently. A bird landed on one of the tree’s bare branches. And then another. And another. They called out in the most beautiful of songs to the creatures below.
The tree had found something to celebrate—it was still useful—no matter what it had lost. I listened to the birds for a few moments, then went on with my walk, letting go of my losses and gathering to my heart all that I could find.
Waking, at half-past six, as the sleepy world roused from her slumber, I set out on my morning walk. Leaves and branches rustled in the early morning breeze. Birds, hidden from view, high atop the trees, sang their greeting to the new day. A frog, out by the pond where the ducks swim, lent his deep voice to the morning. I stopped to take it all in.
What are the trees and animals talking about? I wondered.
“They are talking about the new day,” God said. “They are talking about life.”
Once again, I started out, strolling through God’s creation, listening carefully to the sounds of the morning. When my legs grew tired from the hilly terrain, I sat down on an old tree stump to rest. Surrounded by the symphony of nature, it dawned on me what the trees and the animals weren’t talking about.
The trees weren’t judging other trees. The birds weren’t gossiping about other birds. Nor were the frogs, or any other living thing. They were too busy intent on being what God created them to be. Too busy being full of life.
I walked home slowly, praying that I can remember to talk about life, instead of talking about others.