Out and Away

This wide spreading tree stands on the grounds of Mercy Ships International where my nephew landed his first job out of college a few months ago.

What great work they do bringing skilled surgeons into parts of the world that consider a cleft palate or facial tumor as clear evidence of demonic activity in one’s life. Children, teens and adults who’ve been shunned, neglected and worse are literally given new life by the medical teams that travel voluntarily to villages we’ve never heard of. Hope in abundant supply overflows with each surgery performed.

But this is not the focus of my thoughts for today.

After many years I still carry a lingering sadness for a friendship I lost years ago. And how well I know that by human nature we want reconciliation and happy endings yet sadly at times we have endings without either. Sometimes a divide—a branching out if you will—propels one or both into a direction that would not have been imagined nor ever realized if things had remained the same. And so growth “alongside of” is replaced by “growth away from.”

This became evermore clear to me as I looked at the photo of this grand tree. It illustrates to me how circumstances of life may thrust us out to east and to west as a natural, though not always wanted, process of growth. Apart from a central connection we grow, budding, flowering, reaching out and serving a purpose that is meant just for us. Just for them. But not always together. Though growing out from the same sturdy trunk the reach of our branches is now out and away from each other. Growing in opposite directions these branches appear to expand their reach with outstretched arms and extended fingertips about as far as they possibly can. Providing shade in due season to those below and serving as lifelong home to feathered friends or perhaps a welcomed rest stop to those on a migratory journey. More ground is covered (pause and think about that) because of the trajectory which is out and away.

A happy-ish ending now comes from the certainty that you had to let go to move forward and grow. A necessary ending has transpired.