Friday, December 8, 2017

Eating from the Tree of Life

Appropriate to my sense of humor, my family visited this tree of life in a local cemetery. "Reserve your spot today!"

Trees get a lot of attention this time of year. We bring them into our homes to decorate, string lights around outdoor trees, and travel to admire trees others have decorated. In this dark, cold season, it makes sense to embrace such obvious symbols of life--both the evergreens which stand defiant against winter and the deciduous trees that resurrect each spring.

It also makes sense that many different cultures world wide include a Tree of Life in their beliefs. Lately I have been pondering a Tree of Life story I grew up with.

While dreaming, I find myself in a dark and dreary wilderness. Fog swirls around, obscuring any landmarks. I can hear, and occasionally see, a river, high and muddy with runoff. I also hear voices, some crying for help, some shouting that they know they way. But the only way that seems certain is to cling to a nearby guardrail and follow it slowly, step by step, trusting that it leads somewhere, hoping that it leads to safety.
painting by Minerva Teichert
After a long, difficult walk, I glimpse a light in the distance. The light is coming from a tree with fruit so brilliantly white it glows through the darkness. A kind guide welcomes me. At first bite, the taste of the fruit fills me with so much joy that the difficult journey becomes worthwhile.
I have always seen this prophet's dream, as told in the Book of Mormon as a metaphor for life's journey. If I stayed on the right path and resisted temptation, I would be rewarded in the end.

But my extra dose of pain this past week has given me additional insight. Right now this story is more helpful to me as a metaphor, not for the whole sweep of life, but for each individual day.
Tree of Life sculpture BYU

Many, maybe most, of us spend great stretches of life stumbling through a wilderness of physical or mental suffering. Giving up often seems like the easiest, even the most logical choice. But we find something--faith, hope, love--to cling to and put one foot after another day after day.

And the reward comes daily too--bright bites of joy that make the struggle worthwhile. Just now I saw and heard a bluejay at my feeder. That alone made it worth today's fight to get up and moving.

As I hobble through the holidays, I plan to eat as many of those bites of joy as possible (as well as a decent amount of chocolate). I hope you will be able to savor many small joys in your life as well.

Tree of Life in Draper, Utah

I finished the commission sweater. It is currently drying. I'm still not sure I'm happy with it. I hope its new owner will be. I've also received and wrapped the yarn for my January sweater this year. I'm looking forward to designing.

If you are still trying to find the right gift for someone special, check out my shop. There is still plenty of shipping time at least through the 16th.
Do you have your Solstice hat yet?


  1. Tree always are center of attraction. People travel far and wide just watch trees, in south Asia tree is treated with God. Deforestation must be strictly banned. Thank you for sharing this post.

  2. Thank you for sharing another example from your culture.