A New View by Sarah Boyette
This week our neighbor’s fruitless mulberry tree met a chainsaw and is no longer. When I look out at the backyard now, my view has been altered by the absence of the giant tree I took for granted.
Adam told me in passing about the impending death of the tree. “Sarah, I forgot to tell you that Richard hired a tree trimmer and they’re going to take out that tree this week.”
I was immediately sad and Adam was confused. To him, this tree has been a nuisance. Although most of it resided in the neighbor’s yard, its branches hung over our yard and its leaves fell into our swimming pool. A few times Adam had climbed the tree and trimmed it himself.
I loved that tree. In the summer, I loved floating in the pool under the shade of the tree. When I look out at our backyard now, the view is completely different. There’s more sky and direct light instead of light filtered through the leaves of the tree. That tree served as a frame for my mind’s portrait of the backyard.
In my seminary studies, I’ve been learning about the different lenses with which we view the world. Each of us has a unique perspective based on our demographics, our history, our present reality, and our hopes for the future. A problem occurs when we forget that ours is not the only perspective or we get stuck in one setting and see only the past, present, or the future.
For me, that tree was beautiful. I loved how the branches hung over the yard and shaded it. I didn’t see the whole picture, though. I didn’t think about the amount of work Adam spends every year keeping the leaves out of the pool. I also didn’t take into consideration the health of the tree. Our neighbor noticed the tree and rather than risk the tree falling and injuring property or persons, he had it removed.
Three people saw the same tree in three different ways. That’s the beauty of God and our role in the Body of Christ. We all have different gifts and viewpoints. When we combine our gifts and our unique perspectives, we can see a more complete picture.