shade_tree2Today my husband and I sat on the front porch, shaded by giant old pines. We watched as birds flitted through the branches. As we enjoyed the sway of our swing, peace surrounded us like a hug. Trees provide that feel.

Where we currently reside is not our home. We lease the house. We didn’t plant the pines, or the oaks and elms that provide shade in the backyard. Though we didn’t sweat planting these trees, as we have with homes that we’ve owned, we’re grateful for them nonetheless. And for those who planted them.

I recently read this Warren Buffet quote, “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” In other words, this savvy business magnate, investor, philanthropist reminds us to appreciate the other person who makes life sweet for you—those who help us along the way.

This is old land upon which we reside in northern Georgia. Historical notes about this land, aside the Oostanaula River, note this area as “The Pines.” The pines were old before America’s Civil War. We live only an hour from Atlanta. Soldiers of both the grey and the blue marched here. Did they find shade?

In Need of Shade

Trees provide an example of what friendship should be–there–in all kinds of weather. Sometimes trees are hurt, branches broken off, bent by harsh winds, bark scraped, split by lightning, yet most keep on giving shade through it all. We all need to be as growing trees for others in which they can find shade even if we’re in need of shade ourselves. Psalm 1 tells about the righteous man who is like a tree that brings forth fruit in its season. Friendship is a good fruit.

We all need the shade our friends give to us; that hug only a friend can give. The Christian preacher/author Charles Swindoll mentions an aspect of friendship this way, “All of us need encouragement. Somebody to believe in us—to reassure and enforce us.”  He also brings attention to that one famous line of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s work Youth and Age about a friend being a sheltering tree. That’s the kind of hug that’s found in the comforting, sheltering shade of a friend’s branches, a family feel.

Trees are mentioned throughout the Bible from the Genesis to Revelation—and for good reason because trees are designated teachers for us. More importantly, God planted the Tree of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden as a protecting friend—and He’s prepared another tree that we shall eat from that will be an eternal protector—The Tree of Life.

Further about this land upon which we live: it wouldn’t be our home either, even if we purchased it, because like the old hymn goes, “The world is not my home, I’m just a passing through.” Won’t it be wonderful, when we’re all one united family in heaven, to enjoy the shade of The Tree of Life throughout eternity? Let’s plan on it.