Rachel Jenae

Quarantine: Week 3 – The Tree Killer

This morning a tree was chopped down outside the back patio of my apartment. While this might seem like an unworthy sentiment for a post worthy of your time, I hope this real life drama gives you fresh perspective on all the things being chopped down in your own life in this season.

Today a tree that I’ve seen through the last 8 months and all of its various beautiful seasons was cut down. It wasn’t a very old tree or even a very large tree, but it was a beautiful tree. In the Fall the colors of its leaves painted my window-scape. A few weeks ago it was in full bloom after months of bare branches. Covered in white, spring, blossoming petals it danced through the wind and rain of March showers – reminding me spring was indeed coming. It shaded my balcony and gave me wonderful privacy while also being home to squirrels and blue birds. And over the last two weeks of being home I’ve sat on that balcony daily admiring this tree. It was a beautiful tree. But now it’s gone.

I have no idea why they decided to cut it down – down to a bare stump. It didn’t seem to be causing any problems. It didn’t seem to be doing anything but good in my eyes. I cannot understand what they were thinking. I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that I actually got outright mad about it. There’s another tree right next to it that has never been pretty, a nuisance of a tree actually. Why not that tree?

It hit me hard and fast and I found emotions bubbling to the surface. I wanted to track down the tree-killer and have some words. Didn’t he know he took one of the good ones! I wanted to write the office and voice this injustice. But really I just wanted to cry – I wanted to cry over this tree. Or was it the tree.

The place where that tree had been now left me exposed and vulnerable on my patio. Something I’d loved and grown accustomed to expecting was ripped out of my life with no warning. Why didn’t I get a say? Why did anyone think this was a good idea??? I just couldn’t see it. I was now crying over this tree. Or was it the tree.

I went for a walk and I cried much more than I knew I needed to. I found myself quickly trying to find the silver lining in my trees death. Trying to rebound from the ridiculous grief I was feeling. The longer I walked the more I knew, this was not really about a tree.

Life is changing fast and we’ve all been thrown into adapting and pivoting with little to no warning. Things are being removed right and left. Many good things too. We’ve had no say. We’ve had little to no voice in decisions being made. Things don’t make sense and it’s hard to see why they’re happening as they are. And it’s clear, we are not in control. I am not in control.

By late afternoon my apartment complex sent out an email to residents with details on why these specific trees were being removed. (I guess they do read our emails!) There had indeed been intention. The tree killer had actually been on a good mission. “These trees cause long-term problems. They crack foundations, crush water lines and are actually weak in nature and often split in high winds and fall on our buildings. Our goal is to create more space for sun-filled grass areas for residents to enjoy.” Rarely in life do we get to know the “why” behind things so quickly. But there it was. The intention of the person doing the removing coming into full light and it was actually all about me and all for my good.

A few short hours ago I was grieving the loss of something I felt was so needed in my life. Little did I know that it also held long-term grief and my foundational demise in it’s roots at the same time. Dramatic? Maybe a little, but deep down it’s also how I feel about this season of life and all that’s being removed without my permission. I had to surrender control again. Daily and sometimes hourly. God is still in control. His intentions and plans for our lives is good.

He may allow one thing to be removed that momentarily causes grief and pain, but He sees what that thing could also cause if it were to remain and grow. And with that, I will quit trying to track down the tree-killer. I’ll breathe in and breathe out, letting go of what was, to embrace all God has to come. This too will be good.

(*Real trees were harmed in the making of this post. But my apartment assures me they do indeed love trees, but they love us more.)