Adieu Dear Friend
“My Friend the Tree is Dead.” Fr. Urs wrote these lines in January. The diagnosis came in the Fall of 2020: the big beech tree in front of the Parish house was dying. New construction around the neighborhood had taken its toll. The roots had become weak and a fungus developed. The fear of it one day falling forced the tree doctor to suggest the inevitable.
On February 15th, what took over 80 years to grow was gone in just a few short hours. It was painful to watch. It was a grand old tree. Sometimes I would look at it, longing to play like a little child under her large fanning branches. One snowy winter evening, I did just that. It was a large presence, perhaps taken for granted as hundreds of people walked passed it every day, not noticing her grandness. On that sunny, cold winter day people watched as she was slowly stripped of her dignity. Cut off piece by piece until only her flat stump remained.
The Gospel According to John
In the Gospel for the Fifth Sunday of Lent, Jesus says, “the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified”. Jesus then tells the parable of the grain of wheat which falls to the ground and dies. This small grain must die in order to produce new fruit, new life. The alternative is that it remains a small grain. When the grand beech tree fell, new life was discovered which one day will produce something just as great.
Jesus’ death left his friends sad and empty. In his resurrection, they found new life. Death is never easy, whether it is a loved one, a beloved pet or an old tree. We are left empty, but it is a chance for something new to grow. It won’t be the same, but it will be great.