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I discovered trees lying chaotically covering the sloops surrounding the bike path on our Holy Saturday afternoon walk to the lake last weekend.

I thought maybe the trees had been struck by lightening. One in particular caught my eye, its remaining trunk and torso looking statuesque–no branches or bark, stripped bare, stark in its simplicity–to pay it homage.

A few feet just beyond, another had been snapped off like a bone, massive limbs lying beneath. Then another. Ash trees all around. “Killed by the Emerald Ash Borer,” Todd said.

What bores into us, stealing our life and spirit? “Ashes, ashes we all fall down.”

The glory of the Sun breaking through the clouds of yesterdays’ mornings can become surreal as we sit in a deepening sense of isolation. My thoughts feel like petals in the wind and I remember the rose lying among the stones, drenched by the waves, its delicate layers heaped with sand.

I want to tear off all the layers that burden these aching shoulders and weighted heart.

We have to surrender the former to make room for the New. But what if within today’s surrender I am forced to admit I am the same shaky soul I was the year before? What if I am destined to remain stuck in a tug of war between self-sufficiency and release?

Why this incessant need to lead when what I need most is to follow…Him?

What if the vision of Golgotha, Christ on the Cross—what’s seen—returns again to overshadow Christ Resurrected—the unseen? How long can one go about ones days facing fears and failures—their own and others—living without the grace that has been promised?

How do we make the resurrection meaningful in what is now fruitless? How do we rise when everything is falling down? How do we stand out like a weighted rose among the shifting stones?

The higher the tree rises toward heaven, the deeper its roots dig down. But have you noticed? When a tree is struck, the trunk may fall but its root remains buried deep within the earth. Awaiting new life.

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