My childhood home was always a safe place, a refuge. Even when I moved to Uni I knew I could come home for the weekend and find rest, love, and Mom’s home cooked meals. It’s a small house, sitting several hundred feet from the road, nestled in around the pines and a row of trees. Trees that provide homes to squirrels, cardinals, and a tree house hung for me and my brother, when we make-believed we were superheroes that were out saving the world! Having just moved home to this place after 6 years of being overseas, I find myself feeling the same way I did then, Safe, rested, and loved. Missing my adventurous life overseas but feeling right at home, here at the same time. As I sit and look at these trees I can see they’ve aged just as I have. We’ve owned this house for 24 years now and the trees are bigger, older, and much different. Some of them still healthy, growing taller and broader each year. I glanced up to notice that a mistletoe had made it’s way into the tops of my favourite tree. The big oak that held the tire swing years and years ago. It’s likely the oldest one on the property and slowly it’s big strong branches are starting to fall off and die. At first I was sad, but then God began to highlight something I was missing. Trees have always reminded me of how elegant, thoughtful, and faithful God is. Each tree is unique and while some may be similar, none are exactly the same. They take root into the ground and bring up life. They are homes to animals, they provide shelter, oxygen, and they bare fruit.
My eyes focused in on the mistletoe. Remembering that we’ve made it something glamorous for the holidays. A romantic gesture that when two people walk under it they should share a kiss. What we forget is that mistletoe is like a silent killer for big trees such as the oak. It’s a parasite that while it looks green, lively, and healthy it’s actually smothering what this tree is meant to do, as it steals the life from it. We’ve glamorised it and forgotten that all fruit isn’t necessarily good. I started thinking of the things in my life that have bore fruit due to my decisions. Things that might look glamorous to me or to others. Things that are alive and have the appearance of being good, all the while smothering what God originally intended. The thing about mistletoe is that once one tree has it, it quickly spreads across to its neighbours unsuspectingly. It runs rampant and there’s almost no way to completely stop it. People might admire it from afar while the tree is silently unable to live its full potential.