Removing the Tree
What they say about “assuming” …. is true.
I did it recently.
It started innocently enough when my neighbor’s tree (easily 25 feet tall) split during a rain storm and half of it fell in my yard, narrowing missing my beloved red-bud. See picture above.
Relieved my tree was spared… my thought was, “His tree… his to clean up.”
Texting him a picture (like a good neighbor, right?) I was more than a little surprised when his response was that I should give his tree guy a call and he included his number.
I’ll spare you the details.
He was right and I was wrong!
After a quick “Google search” and a call to my insurance agent, I then texted my neighbor back to say, “We’ve got this.”
See I learned that because it was in MY yard it was MINE to clean up.
That hardly seemed “fair.”
But in the words of my high school Spanish teacher, Mrs. Perry, “Whoever told you life was fair?”
This reality of responsibility set my mind spinning about…. people.
How often does something happen in an interaction between two people where one feels like they have been “wronged” by the other …. in some way, for some reason.
It could be:
passive aggressive gossip
… a whole host of offenses may set us off and make us feel (perhaps even rightfully so) like THEY have messed up our yard with their “tree.”
Don’t they see what a mess they’ve made?
Can’t they for once just do the right thing and take care of this?
Well, my experience has been that in some instances they might.
But in a lot of others…. they might not… ever.
And if they don’t we are left with a choice as to how we respond.
We can spout off long and loud about how inconsiderate and uncaring they are to have hurt, upset, disappointed or wronged us.
Our feelings might even be justified.
Or, we can determine to acknowledge the mess, the hurt they’ve caused and choose to saw the tree into little pieces and have it hauled away.
When the tree is really big… this could take some time and might even cost money if we have to hire help with its removal.
Once it is cleaned up, we may still remember that the tree fell, but in time the grass will grow back, and eventually the yard will be restored to its original beauty.
That person may NEVER come back and admit what they did, apologize or even acknowledge our pain.
And while it would be wonderful if somehow, they would, ultimately it is up to us to decide how we want our yard to look and to do what is necessary to restore it.
I don’t mean to suggest for a moment that this is easy, or even that it feels “right.”
But what I do know for sure is that if you leave a dead tree on a lawn long enough… it will not only kill the grass beneath it, but it will be an eyesore, a place for weeds to grow and become an unsightly mess in short order.
The longer it stays sprawled across the yard the worse it becomes.
I’m sure you know I’m talking about that thing that is incredibly difficult for us to do depending on the depth of the hurt AND… absolutely necessary if we ever hope to live freely again; forgiveness.
Forgiving another person for the mess they’ve dumped in my life isn’t really about them…. it’s about me.
Because holding on to the hurt and pain is a little like holding out my arm in a stiff position to let everyone know to “stay away.”
The ache of maintaining that posture will cause me more pain than I can bear if held long enough.
Because I’ve determined to live my life void of as much self-inflicted pain as possible, I understand that may mean I have to take responsibility for removing someone else’s “tree” from my yard.
Not in a “See, I did it myself” way… but rather, “I choose to release you from that responsibility.”
I don’t do this perfectly… but I long to do it consistently.