The Whole Tree Is Beautiful, Not Just The Leaves

A tree could never thrive without the dirt.

~Anonymous

There’s a tree outside my music room window that just this past week changed colour to the most magnificent red I have yet to see. I noticed it the day before my friend’s funeral and it brought a smile to my heart in a way that hadn’t happened since before finding out about her death.

I have looked at that tree every day since, and I have noticed more and more beauty with every day that passes. Take the trunk for example; those leaves could never shine in the sunlight without the vertical spine of that trunk. Or how about the ground in which that trunk finds it’s home. And what about the roots that dig to such amazing depths that that trunk couldn’t be swayed even if a large gust of wind tried to knock it down.

That tree has made me think of Kristen’s life.

Her funeral was beautiful. It was everything I expected it to be – inspiring, hopeful, challenging and musical. All of those involved with the funeral did a wonderful job showcasing Kristen’s beautiful leaves. But I must admit, beyond the colour, I couldn’t help but recognize and pay respect to the other parts of Kristen’s tree – her roots, her trunk, her branches, her soil – the people in her life who made it possible for her life to stand tall so it’s beauty could shine. Like Mike, her wonderful husband – the guy who carried her to and from her wheelchair so she could have brief moments of fresh air outside. Like Dave & Kathy, her wonderful parents – who had moved in with Mike & Kristen to help cook and care for the boys. Like Bob Jones, her wonderful Pastor – who would spend hours and hours praying and counselling both Kristen and Mike through the difficult questions of such a diagnosis.

It’s easy to look at someone’s life and think, “Wow, the colours are so beautiful!” But may we never forget that the whole tree is necessary – the trunk, the branches, the roots, the soil and the leaves – they are all connected parts that make the whole tree beautiful. It’s everything and everyone working together to make each part of the tree come alive that determines it’s true value, it’s influence and it’s fruit.