Alone – I went out walking in search of a tree, a tree of life, a God-tree, What would it be?

A mighty oak? No, that’s not God. That is a Jesus-tree: human, like me, wearing the seasons of life. Yet, not like me – birth in the winter, death in the spring – a paradox, a divine/human paradox – life in death and death in life. A lesson for sure!

Is God a weeping willow? A willow’s high and wide and strong; yet, it’s soft and gentle as it hovers to the ground. But, no, God isn’t sad. That’s not my God-tree.

Perhaps my God’s not big. Could God be small like me? No, no, that couldn’t be. How could God shelter me, protect me, give me strength if God were small like me?

I see a tree, an awesome pine, a perfect one and strong. Could this be God? I walk beneath its limbs. Safe, secure, protected – I am small. Like a child I reach up to touch its branches reaching down to me. Ouch! Its needles are so sharp; they prick and pierce my skin. Oh, no! That’s not a God for me!

Will I ever know what God is like? My search goes on. Then in the clearing of the trees I pause. I listen. And in my mind’s eye God is found.

She is a tree like me. But God is wide and strong. She holds her head up high; she’s tall and straight. This God is flexible, bending with the breeze. She has some give and take. So feminine is she. Her shape is soft and round. Her needles are not bristles; they gently brush my face.

And can she weep, this God of mine? Oh, yes, she can – whenever life is sad or filled with pain. She weeps with me, then refreshes me again. My God is ever green, filled with hope and life. Unchanging is her love; she always stays the same.

And where am I? What kind of tree am I? One like her, for sure, standing close beside. I, too, am soft and green and feminine. My feet firmly clutch the ground, tangling roots with hers, digging deeply down. Drawing upon her for strength, I stretch my toes far out, hoping for balance that I, too, might bend in the breeze and not break. My arms wrap tight around her as our branches intertwine in a loving embrace. My needles are fingers that reach out to touch the sun, to drink the rain, to soak up air and light and life.

My God and I are one, joined by the umbilical bond of love – a human/divine connection. It is I who reach and cling and draw upon her strength. She is Light and Water and Breath of Life. Rooted in her I shall live to bear fruit and to mirror her face on the earth.

Sister Julianne McCauley