A rushing, crashing sound filled the house. Like a tidbit of a Missouri tornado.
“What was that?” Tina’s eyes doubled in size.
Pete moved to the window and peered through the blinds. “I can’t figure it out.” His left hand reached to switch on the outside light. “Whoa. A branch fell out of that big tree out front.”
His shoulder jostled for position as she pushed her face to the glass. “A branch? That’s a huge limb. What a mess.”
“Well, there isn’t anything we can do about it tonight so I’m going back to bed.” He was too cool to stand around in his underwear. The scuff, scuff of her slippers followed him down the hall to the bedroom.
The coverlet muffled her voice, but he was able to make out the words. “You know, I parked the car on the side for the first time tonight.”
“Yah. I noticed that. How come?”
“I finally got tired of all the pollen and bird poop, and decided to try a different spot.” She rolled toward him and proper herself up on her elbow.
He turned his head in her direction. “Well, that’s interesting. I mean, the car wouldn’t have been hit even it was in your usual place. It’s just interesting that you were prompted to put it over by the fence.”
“Either way I feel like God protected me and my Silver Bullet.” She giggled then leaned over and laid a kiss on him. “Good night.”
The way she burrowed into him always warmed his gut.
The next morning Pete took stock of the clean-up project. There were two large limbs, both more than a dozen feet long. And the main one was nearly as big around as Tina’s waist. It carried a full array of smaller branches too. He was definitely gonna need a chain saw.
She touched the small of his back. “How ’bout some hot coffee?”
“Thanks.” His mitt-size hands enveloped the orange Clemson mug.
“Seems like this might take a while.”
“Oh yeah. I can do it myself, but I might ask your brother to help me. I like his company.” He blew across the cup of steaming liquid and took a tentative sip.
His blonde wife moved around the clutter. “Look at those ragged edges where it tore away from the trunk. Ouch. And there’s a lot of fresh growth all over the part that came down. I wonder why it fell. There wasn’t even a breeze blowing.”
“But remember the heavy wind and rain we’ve had over the last two or three weeks. That could easily have weakened the weight-bearing limbs. And it’s happened before. Can you see the weathered break at the top? This tree has seen a lot of storms. Sort of like what we went through with our small group.”
“Mmmm. You’re right.” Her tone grew somber. “And I’m sad those months of turmoil took such a toll. I learned a lot about the damage gossip and slander cause.”
“We all learned how important it is to dedicate ourselves to Christ as Lord and build our lives around His teaching.”
She put her hand on his arm and flashed that heart-affirming grin of hers. “I’m glad we’re on the other side of it.”
He straightened his back and stuck his chest out ever so slightly. “It was an excellent opportunity to memorize that Scripture. Let’s say it together.”
“’I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.’” John 15:5-6″
They celebrated with a high five. “Guess I better go in and call Joe. We’ll stack all the burnable wood on the campfire pile.”
“The pruning will be good for this sturdy old oak. Those new leaves will fill out and birds will soon be building nests in her branches.”
“Why are you calling it a girl?” She came up beside him and he tousled her hair. “For all we know it’s a boy tree intent on pumping fresh oxygen into our neighborhood.” His fist pumped its way to his shoulder as they strolled into their weekend.
What broken limbs have you had to clear out of your life?
Are you experiencing the new growth yet?
Asking the Divine Gardener to tend each of our hearts for His glory,
*all references are NIV1984 unless otherwise noted