Tuesday, 17 May 2011

every day growth

Spring always surprises me: the flowers thrusting out of still-cool soil to smile at the sun, sap rushing up the trees to turn small, hard brown buds into delicate green leaves.

Every year it seems to go from bud to leaf so quickly - it's as if I can watch the tree change every day. So this year I wanted to capture it. I took a photo of our backyard maple every day from April 28 onwards. And this is what happened:

Measurable, every day growth.

And I wanted that for myself. Do you too?

Cycles of rest followed by unbelievable growth. Remembering each year what it's like to grow, then then just instinctively doing it. No fear, no comparing myself with others' growth, just doing it because it's the right season.

I know there are scientific explanations for the growth and the timing of this growth, but I'd rather see it as a small miracle.

I wonder whether the tree reluctantly gives up its leaves in the fall to be still and asleep for months, knowing that a period of growth will come again, or if there is reluctance at each stage - including the growth.

As nature wakes up from its slumber and drinks this potent elixir of spring, I can easily imagine it has human qualities - and that sights such as singing and dancing trees are entirely possible. Sounds crazy, but this is where my imagination goes, especially in the spring. Maybe yours does too! Like in this verse:

"For you shall go out in joy, and be led back in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall burst into song, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands." Isaiah 55:12

I'd like to measure the expansion of my soul. Just to see if there's been any change. Whether there is every day growth - small signs that parts of me are bursting forth and expanding. But the hard thing about measurement is that I may just fear that I'm not enough - that I'm not growing enough, not stretching enough, not enough. Which isn't a great place to be.

So I want to be like the trees with their every day growth and seasons of rest, all the while leaning in to the grace that's out there for me to grab onto. Every day, grace-filled growth and rest.


  1. Such a beautiful post! I love the concept of photographing the unfurling of the trees - taking time each day to absorb the wonder of it all. In the midst of a particularly challenging situation, somewhere around Remembrance Day (commemorating, in a small small way, the victories I wanted to remember too), I created an "ebenezer," a small collage that I keep tucked in my bible of things that impacted me that year. I relearn even as I look at it so many years later. Encouraged (and motivated!) by the growth in Grace that is possible.

  2. I love your idea of an ebenezer. I find visual reminders (like photos) so helpful to remind me of who I am/was/could become. And I like how you put it: absorbing the wonder of it all. That's why we're here, right? Or one of the reasons...

  3. Love the trees! This visual of growth...so subtle, yet it's happening, whether we notice it or not. I've still been pondering my "one word" from the very first blog you wrote Rebecca. I can't shake the thought that my word is "strength". Not in the sense that I'm out there to show the world how strong I am, or to have people admire and praise my strength. As this word has noodled about in my mind so have the verses - 'those that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength...the joy of the Lord is my strength...my (God's) power is made perfect in your weakness'. I want to grow in my understanding of where my strength comes from so that I am better able to serve in this busy old world.

  4. Mel - what a great word - strength. And I love the verses that give the word more depth for you. Like the trees - strong and rooted, giving shelter, shade, fruit, oxygen (serving this busy, old world in a way!).

  5. I just came home from a wonderful evening at church where soon-to-be new members shared their faith stories. One spoke of the desire to always be growing. It struck me, and then reading this post added another layer to my thoughts. How am I growing? What am I doing to nurture that growth? Sometimes its hard to do much more than manage at this stage of life, but that's not good enough. Thanks for the thoughts.

  6. Wendy, I hear you. For me, the process of finding a word (or two) and holding them in front of me has helped me to grow, even in the past 5 months. I guess it's a form of goal-setting, but the goal is more elusive. Having a word guide me feels different than setting goals, but I'm finding it can lead to exciting new adventures and surprises - which equal growth in my mind.