Have you ever looked at something and asked, “What purpose does this have?” After dinner, about two weeks ago, Gary and I sat outside on the front deck and looked at one of the trees closest to our house and I asked, “Seriously, what is this tree good for?” It blossoms for only a few weeks in late May and early June, and after that it seems to become “boring”, unlike the Maple tree right next to it, where the leaves seem to smile and almost speak to you with their beauty.
We both remembered how two years ago, this tree looked extremely sick and more “unproductive” than now. At least this year the greenery appears to be livelier than ever before – looking a little bit more “living” for some reason. We did not do anything different to it, even though about four years ago we had a friend and his partner came to visit us and his partner, who is an arborist, suggested that we go find a specific liquid that can be sprayed on this tree to make it more vibrant. As you can tell, I cannot even remember what the suggested remedy was – we just dropped the ball somewhere along the way as life always has new curbs for us to manage and navigate.
After this lovely evening of just being with Gary and going through some wonderings of life, and this tree, I forgot all about this conversation, until a few days ago. While I was preparing supper and was lost in my deep, life changing thoughts, to my left I saw a small collection of branches move on this infamous tree. I could not really see what was causing this shake down until a few seconds later when, behold, a beautiful Red Cardinal emerged, and my eyes could not believe it. He came and sat down at the edge of a branch of this useless tree.
With huge excitement I ran to get my camera so that I can capture just a small glimpse of this beautiful creature – No matter how many pictures I capture of nature and creatures, I always want to take a picture or two to validate this moment of manifestation of God’s Beauty. Moreover, every time I see a red Cardinal, I vividly feel my late mother’s presence. She left this physical earth August 22, 1994 and I do not even know if she ever saw a red Cardinal in the short eight years that she lived in Canada before departing to her eternal rest. I also know that red Cardinals are male and why they remind me of my mother I have no clue. From the very first moment I ever laid eyes on a red Cardinal sitting on the frozen branches of our first home, Gary’s and mine, on Charlevoix Ave. in Chomedy-Laval, QC, February 2002, a red Cardinal sighting brings my mother to the center of my mind. Could it be because my mother always told me I looked good in red? Some questions in life will never be answered, and that is OK, as life is not a problem or a riddle to be solved, but an experience to be embraced and shared with others.
As I was lost in my deep thoughts, it came to me that this useless tree was serving a purpose that was more than just a bird’s home. As I clicked away the camera and captured this lovely creature’s profile and perfection, the answer clicked in my heart – the voice of my mother, “Trusting God and doing God’s will is always better than worrying about people and their opinions of you…”
A few days later, I called my neighbour who is one of the original residents of this crescent and I asked if these trees were part of the original land or were they planted afterwards by the first owners/builders of our home? She shared with me how this land was a hay field and that the original owners of our house, Ken and Roma planted all the trees on our land when they built this beautiful house which we now call home. With this information, my heart grew fonder of this useless tree and made me realize that nothing is useless in life. Just when you need answers to help navigate through this life, God uses a red Cardinal hiding in a useless tree that comes out at the right time, to help find the way through the storms of life… The saints of the past, like my mother, Ken, and Roma, still bless me in one way or another.
Maybe the answers to life’s questions are right in front of us, we just need to pay attention and see beyond the obvious and allow The Creator, Creation and Creatures alike to penetrate our heart, mind, and soul – because all carry the beauty of the Creator who breaks through our chaos and shows us a Word of Hope and Courage in the exact time that we need to carry on.
Well, the purpose of this tree is clear – it is more than being a home for Cardinals, Robins, Squirrels, and other creatures alike. Even when there are no visible fruits for anyone to pick, eat, and fill their stomachs, but there is nourishment for the soul that is beyond all comprehension.
So Beloved, I am not sure what questions you are wrestling with – Like Jacob’s all night wrestle, who did not give up on God’s Blessings, it is good to remember that the Blessings of God are NOT material, one can be rich and evil and another can be poor and blessed. Like Jacob, sometimes Blessings of God leave behind a reminder, such as Jacob’s limp. However, one of the biggest blessings of the Universe is calling us to pay attention. As we keep busy in the chaos of life – life continues its course and calls us to pay attention – cooking supper can be a life-giving moment reminding you that nothing created by the Great Creator is useless, that includes you and me. Do not let mundane tasks get you down… Do what you are accountable for, pay attention to God’s Call, and you will find how you are part of the Creation Dance giving beauty to all around you and manifesting God’s Grace and Mercy with every breath you take – Like my mother said, “Trusting God and doing God’s will is always better than worrying about people and their opinions of you…” Life is not a competition, it is a gift of God where we are invited to inhale God’s Beauty and Grace and exhale Gratitude with Trust and Obedience. May you always remember, you are created for the purpose of Life, Love and Laughter with the Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer. Amen.