God, you know me.
~Psalm 139

Its once proud branches now broken into firewood, the pear tree resists the flames. I light another match, breathing on the kindling, coaxing it to stay lit. I’ll need all the heat the stove can muster on this cold morning. Finally, the wood catches and I watch the flames walk the length of the log, casting shadows on the wall.

How many years had the pear tree stood in the orchard before it was consumed for my comfort, I wondered? How many hands had reached up and plucked its fruit?

“God, I want to acknowledge the life of this tree,” I said. “I want to pay my respects to what I imagine was a productive life.”

“It was a good tree,” God said. “I’ll miss it.”

“You will?”

“Of course I will. The tree is with me now, but I’ll always remember where it stood,” God explained. “I remember every living thing that I created.”

“That’s incredible. You know every detail of your creation?”

“I know the hairs on your head,” God said, and gave my hair a playful tousle. “I know and love everything I’ve created.”

The burning pear tree now felt sacred to me. We are both creations of the Living God, intimately known, and deeply loved. I appreciated its warmth even more.

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