The snow fell with a vengeance February 5-6, 2010 in Pittsburgh - two feet and more over the next days and weeks. I looked out our living room windows late that Friday evening and saw a huge tree lying across three cars parked in front of our garage. Fortunately enough snow fell before the tree did that there was little or no damage to the cars.
By Saturday morning almost every evergreen in our yard was flat on the ground under the weight of the heavy snow.
Now a month later enough snow has melted that yesterday with great effort and a cable winch we were able to get one of the biggest trees upright and anchored to three of our neighbor's trees until we can make more permanent arrangements for anchors.
During the last month, we up-righted some of the smaller evergreens and braced them with ladders, a push broom in one case and various rakes. The ladders, rakes and push broom are still bracing trees. The presentation is more than a little strange.
Yesterday as we were winching the largest tree slowly up, up, up until it was mostly standing straight again, it occurred to me that we were in the middle of a life parable.
People - like our evergreens - get crushed and flattened by the weight of life. People crushed by their life circumstances need someone to come alongside to "winch" him or her up-right again.
It is hard work reaching out hand and heart, spending the time and effort necessary to "pull up" a crushed, battered, storm ravaged friend.
Today my body feels the effects of all that effort yesterday. My neck is so stiff I can hardly move. My back hurts so bad that I cannot stand straight. I'm walking carefully and slow.
Caring about others, showing mercy can be hard work. Progress may be slow. The effort may be painful BUT - in the end - it can make all the difference! God calls us to care. God calls us to do the hard work of showing mercy!
Our trees remind me of all the crushed people in my world who need a loving heart and a helping hand to stand up again.
Getting up and standing tall once again isn't over with one effort. It is an on-going process! It's like our neighbor's three trees anchoring the one tree.
Showing mercy is hard work! Showing mercy is more than a bandaid. Showing mercy can be costly BUT - in the end - it's worth it all! AND it's what God calls us to be and do!