In a recent sermon about the Garden of Gethsemane, one of our pastors detoured to talk about the olive trees that grow plentifully there. She said:
“The Garden of Gethsemane has some of the oldest olive trees in the world at 900 years old. If trees could talk, right? These trees show their wear and tear, their cracks and dents, their twist and gnarls. These trees don’t grow majestic like redwoods or are well manicured like bonsai, but their beauty is in their strength and regeneration… I have always wondered if Jesus had chosen this place for a reason, as a place of peace, as a place to grieve, as a place for comfort…
Olive trees are an economic resource for both Palestinians and Israelis. During many of the conflicts the region has seen, it is often a tactic of groups to burn olive trees to limit the economic growth of the other. Olive trees are known to store life giving water and minerals in their trunks so that even if a small portion of the tree that is left, it will regenerate with new life. As the new bud breaks the surface of the ground, it’s life is dependent upon the surrounding trees that have survived and have probably been weathered in similar ways before. They will change their own growth pattern to surround the seedling with protection from the wind, shade from the beating sun and being trampled on out in the open.
I like to think that we have the same capacity within ourselves, that out of our own experience with pain, vulnerability and suffering that we can reach out to give new life to others who are experiencing the twisting and gnarling of pain. That as we wear and tear, we expose the roots of that pain to others so that we may find together what Jesus was searching for in Gethsemane that evening.”
This resonated with me; in sharing our pain, we are olive trees to each other. Interestingly, right before writing this post, I read this over at Expecting the Unexpected, also about the healing that comes to both parties when we share our pain. In building the babyloss community, we are giving life to both ourselves (the “veterans”) and the new travelers who find us through the rawness of their grief and pain. There is beauty in our strength, in our ability to regenerate hope. We survived only because we were nurtured and sheltered by those before us, who helped us to grow again and protected us from the trampling feet of those who didn’t understand or didn’t care.
Thank you to my fellow blogging friends for helping to give me and others life again. I am proud that I have grown this tall, surrounded by you.