With rain and thunder and lightning and refreshing breezes that carry in warm winds, it may be safe to say that we have finally ushered winter out the door! The trees have started to show buds, flowers have begun to dot the landscape, our first hummingbird has made his arrival at our feeder, and at last, Spring is beginning to sweep through our little corner of the world with such lovely grace and warmth.
But just a couple of weeks ago, these branches stretched to the sky, exposed and bare, and I couldn’t help but think that they so very much resembled the intricate veining of bronchial tubes. And so nature mirrors to us our very own bodies in the most profound and majestic ways.
It’s always amazing to me how you can see something for years, but not see it. How many times have I looked at bare tree branches, and seen nothing but tree branches? How many times have I gazed at the sky in winter and admired the noble repose of these majestic giants reaching for the sky and not seen this wonderful connection? This beautiful reflection of the human body mirrored in such a larger than life way that it was almost too obvious, and therefore so easily unnoticed.
Here, the lungs of our planet stretch and grow and silently inhale and exhale and share with us their breath; and the truly symbiotic nature of our world reveals itself once more and it literally takes your breath! It feels like another little inside joke, a special treasure left for us to find, God’s own little Easter eggs waiting to be discovered.
And how exciting to find them, how wonderful to have your breath taken away in awe at even the simplest of treasures! How wonderful to be able to slow down the pace of this rushing, rushing world and simply notice. Notice the details, notice the beauty, discover the mystery, and really see! Not just look … but see! And in seeing, begin to embrace and bask in the beauty of the seemingly most ordinary, yet truly extraordinary things around us. It is then that the crooked and bent limbs that cascade in the forests, and the randomly scattered wildflowers, and the wild weaving of the river or stream somehow make the landscape just as it should be. Suddenly, we find the perfect in the imperfect.
In the slowing and the noticing, we open our eyes to that which was always before us but which we were unable to see. Or too busy to see. Or perhaps not ready to see. Isn’t it funny how sometimes when it’s your time, it’s just your time, and all the little pieces fall into place, and suddenly the universe seems alive and conspiring to help you along the way, urging you and nudging you with just what needs to be seen?
What I love about the noticing and the discovering and the seeing is that we recognize yet another connection to our own lives, the realization that we too, simply want to be noticed, to be seen. Who of us doesn’t want to have another human being look at us and really see us? Not the masks or the walls, but just us. Who among us doesn’t yearn for that kind of connection? The kind of connection that says, you make sense to me, your imperfection doesn’t scare me, you matter! Because the truth is we all want to feel like somehow in this huge, wild and crazy world that we are, in some way, an important piece of the puzzle, that somehow our being here matters to the symbiosis of things, that we, too play some role in this grand adventure called life, a role that will mean something to someone.
And just as the trees, deeply rooted into this muddy, messy earth, reach to the skies and inhale and exhale and share with us their breath, we, too reach for something more. In the midst of the messy and the muddy, we, too inhale and exhale and share with those around us our own gifts, our own journey. Sometimes we share the pain, sometimes we share in the joy, but it is in the knowing that we depend on one another that we find our balance. God, as He created man, recognized the need for companionship, for someone to share the journey with as worthy and vital. We need each other. Just as those majestic arboreal breaths are vital to our most basic survival, so too our own lives, expanding and contracting with life are vital to those around us. Not in our perfection, because who can say what perfect is anyways, but rather in our imperfect journey. With muddy feet planted into this messy earth, we stretch our arms to the sky reaching for the air of this life, and sometimes we are clothed in the finest of garments, like the lush leaves of summer; and sometimes we lay bare and vulnerable and we are seen. Most of all, though, we matter. And our voices matter, our talents, our thoughts, our fears, our hopes, and our dreams, they matter.
Sometimes, being seen is the scariest thing of all. Sometimes, being seen means facing the side of ourselves that we would rather stay hidden and small, camouflaged in the thick of the forest. It takes courage to plant your feet and declare, I deserve to stand here, my voice matters.
As we stumble through this messy, busy, rushing life, it is my hope that we find the time to see. To see the way in which we are connected to this amazing world that we call home for a brief time, the way in which we are connected to each other and dependent on each other. And as the bareness of the trees begins to fill again with leaves, concealing those bronchial-like veins, may we find new connections and new beauty in what comes next, for who knows what will come our way when we take the time to see?
As Spring begins to find its way towards you, may you discover new mysteries all around you. May you fall in love with the imperfect perfect of lopsided trees bursting with green buds, with flowers growing in the unlikeliest of places, with the random and energetic chirping chorus of our feathered friends, each eager to sing his very own unique song. May you find yourself singing your own song! We need all of our voices, for each breath is precious and necessary. There is room enough for each of us to bloom.