I wasn't planning to blog about trees this week, but then we had a storm come through overnight with lots of wind and rain, and this morning, a cherry tree we planted just a couple of years ago was leaning over far enough that I was afraid it would fall over and die.
This has already been a rough Spring for plants in my garden. Varmints (chipmunks, moles, voles ... take your pick) claimed a camellia bush -- one that had been fairly young but thriving -- and yet another butterfly bush. It's enough to discourage this gardener. And truth be told, I have been channeling my inner Bill-Murray-in-Caddyshack, wondering just exactly where I might find squirrel- and bunny-shaped putty explosives.
So when I saw the cherry tree atilt, I headed straight to the store, not for explosives but for something to use as a stake for the tree. I also called my dad for help. I figured this would be a four-hand project, and his calm demeanor rubbing off on me wouldn't hurt, either.
The cherry tree now has a stake supporting it, one that will help the tree recover over the next year before it should be strong enough to stand on its own again. And that stake got me to thinking about how we sometimes need someone else's support to survive our own storms in life.
Who's there to pick you up?
The Bible says this about weathering life's storms:
"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to pick him up." -- Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (NIV)
Take a moment to think about the times in life when you have fallen. Who has been there to pick you up or act as a stake to help you stay standing? You may have many friends who act as stakes in varying ways in your life, or you may have just one rock-solid stake you can always turn to for help.
Do you have a hard time asking for help? What's at risk if you try to solve everything on your own?
How have you been a stake to others? Whether just for a moment or for a year or more while a friend needs help growing strong enough to stand on her own.
Have you ever asked God to be your stake? How has He answered your prayer?
More than you can bear
There's a platitude you'll often hear after a death, probably because it is so difficult to find comforting words at such a time. "God won't give you any more than you can bear."
One of my best friends lost her youngest daughter almost three years ago. The day after that precious, beautiful child died, my friend's minister and I spoke briefly about faith and grieving. He said something that will always stay with me, and it reinforces the importance of what the Bible says in this passage in Ecclesiastes.
He said that if God only gave us what we alone could bear, we wouldn't need others, and we wouldn't need Him. Instead, when we are facing more than we can bear, He wants us to turn to Him. Together with His help and with those friends He sends to stake us up in times of grief, sadness or weakness, we can continue on. Rising up. Staying on our feet. Growing a little bit stronger every day.