The poem below, written by Maya Angelou, was shared with me by an FPC friend, and I, in turn, want to share it with you.
There is “a great tree” in my personal life who is slowly falling: my 91-year-old Pop. As you know, he holds the most special place in my heart for being the only father I have known since I was 2 years old. Not once has he called me his “stepdaughter” but has loved me as his own.
Today he has 10 children from 3 marriages (only 4 that are biologically his)… and we each think we are his favorite!
He is one of the kindest, most generous, loving people I have ever known, and he makes me laugh each week when we talk on the phone.
Our Triune God gives us the amazing capacity to love one another in ways that change and deepen our souls. What a joy it is to love another person. And while it hurts when “great trees” fall, we remember that God gave us these “great trees.” And it is God who is with us when it is time for God to welcome these “great trees” to their eternal home. We must always celebrate that!
I am grateful that the church is able to re-open and join together in our sanctuary not only for Sunday morning worship but also for when we witness to the Resurrection and celebrate “the great trees” we have had the privilege and joy to know and love.
When Great Trees Fall by Maya Angelou
When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down in tall grasses,
and even elephants lumber after safety.
When great trees fall in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses eroded beyond fear.
When great souls die,
the air around us becomes light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
gnaws on kind words unsaid,
promised walks never taken.
Great souls die and our reality,
bound to them,
takes leave of us.
dependent upon their nurture,
now shrink, wizened.
formed and informed by their radiance
We are not so much maddened as reduced
to the unutterable ignorance of dark, cold caves.
And when great souls die,
after a period,
peace blooms slowly
and always irregularly.
Spaces fill with a kind of soothing electric vibration.
never to be the same,
whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be.
Be and be better.
For they existed.