This stump being worked on by a diligent pileated woodpecker got to me. I tried to ignore it the first time I saw it but went back the next day to ponder its effect on me. A lump rose in my throat looking at the rugged beauty carved into what is left of a once strong, vibrant tree that has been reduced to firewood, splinters, and a bug infested woodpecker smorgasbord.
Not willing to think about it too much, I walked away again my heart feeling achy.
A little farther down the path, I noticed another pile of debris that was also once a tree.
Pitted by bugs and being overtaken by moss and reclaimed by the woods.
And there was debris inside the debris.
And only moss and fungi grow on its scarred and fallen trunk.
Of course, this is the way of Creation, and I’m usually okay with that.
But I felt the Spirit of God nudge me to look again, and that’s when I saw this . . .
And these two . . .
A balm-like feeling washed over my heart, and I sensed the precious nearness of God. And a lesson coming on because that’s sometimes the way it is out there.
In a moment, this verse came to mind:
The Lord is near to the broken hearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18 (ESV)
According to Strong’s Concordance, the word for broken used in this verse can mean:
To break in pieces, break down, to rend violently, wreck, crush, quench, to rupture, to be maimed, torn, extinguished, hurt, crippled, destroyed, wrecked, and/or shattered.
We all know some degree of brokenness and sometimes it’s the kind that lingers long.
Standing in the dappled sunshine I looked at the stump and rotting trees with a fresh perspective. Where I had seen only debris and loss these beautiful woodland wildflowers are fed and sheltered and thriving.
The breeze cooled my cheeks, a male cardinal sang from a nearby branch, a small critter of some kind rustled in a pile of leaves, and a quiet truth came to mind: there is beauty in our personal debris – our fallen dreams, splintered years, and still aching, sometimes drilled out hearts.
A little healing snuggled into my heart as I accepted the truth that even in the middle of my rubble, He feeds my soul, shelters me from eternal devastation, and helps me thrive even when my earthly circumstances stay the same. Especially then.
Until Next Time,