Someone is having a party. Confetti tossed all over my yard. Tiny gems of red, green, and gold. Gifts from our Tallow tree.

I love this tree.  She has a soft voice. A rustle and a whisper that speaks to me all year round. In the winter she adorns herself with white pods, baubles that shine silver in the frosty sun. Just before the first signs of Spring, they turn black. A feast for the birds.

In early Spring, her tiny buds unfurl into heart-shaped leaves of yellow-green.  And then, as spring turns to summer, she is baptized. The Queen butterflies come and kiss her inflorescence; clusters of flowers arranged on a spiked stem.

It nearly broke my heart this past April when her branches remained bare. No tiny buds emerged to greet the rallying sun. The week-long freeze we’d had in February had wounded her. With fanciful thoughts of being heard, I caressed her trunk and whispered, “Don’t give up. Grow you.”

Finally, in May when she should have been hosting butterflies, a few branches began to sprout from the main trunk. By July her center stood, lush and adorned, surrounded by bare fingers. The evidence of her inner ache.  She never bloomed.

Yet, she still extends an offering. Her leaves have turned to wine and gold. Despite her wounds, she still reflects the beauty of her Creator.

There will be no baubles shining silver in the sun this year. As she enters her winter rest, I pray for her inner healing.

My prayer is not for her alone.

My prayer is for every one of you who has been wounded. Whether your bruises are visible or invisible. New or old. Raw and bleeding or deep and aching.

The Tallow reminds us that we can bear these hurts. Because another tree, two thousand years ago, bore our Savior. We do not walk alone in this world. We do not suffer needlessly or unattended.

He is making all things new. Righting wrongs and redeeming all that has been lost.

Our sufferings can give witness to this truth. Even in the midst of our grief, we can reflect the beauty of our Creator.

Beauty defies despair.

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