CHANGES —TREES AND ME AND YOU
Early one day several years ago as I sat on our back porch enjoying the early morning, I looked across the lake to a knoll in the pasture. Something wasn’t right with the scene. I could not decide just what. Then I realized my little tree was gone!
Don soon came by and I cried out, "Don, how could you have cut down my little tree?" He looked puzzled as he looked toward the spot I pointed out. Then he turned and gently said, "Honey, the tree there now is the same one that has been there all these years. It has grown into that big oak." I accepted that this was in fact my little tree, yet the matter was not completely resolved. How had my tree changed without my seeing it happen?
I began watching this tree when the lake was formed in 1963. The tree was just far enough up the hill that it was not killed by the men and dozers who did the work. I loved watching it put on its spring attire to wear through summer and into the beautiful changing colors of fall. Then it became bare as it continued to stand all alone —defying the wind and cold. Even then it seemed so perfect in shape. The tree, when I had first noticed it, was quite small, providing shade for only two or three cows, now the tree shades many cows, and families picnic beneath it when they come to fish or just to enjoy the scenery. The grandchildren enjoy its shade when they swim or fish in the lake.
I watched as other favorite trees were destroyed when another lake was formed. Many were pushed over, their huge root systems standing defiantly taller than the men at work, who completed their work by piling the trees down the hill and leaving them to rot in their own time. The huge pecan tree was among these. How old it must have been! The water backed up over the hickory tree and it was killed. The squirrels have missed these trees as have I.
How devastating has been the destruction as the roadsides have been cleared for safety. One afternoon I came up Clear Creek Hill and saw trees being cut on both sides of the road, and I could not find Don quickly enough! He was again the recipient of my unwarranted wrath. The longer I looked the more upset I became. The dogwoods which had lined the road were gone! Once again Don patiently explained the action to me. Those trees were not on our property but on county right-of-way. The work proceeded further on down the road and I simply had to accept this loss.
I have a hard time accepting the destruction of any tree. Of course we now raise trees to be harvested and sold as other crops. I am just not prepared for the woeful look left when these are taken. Perhaps I could cope with the harvest for wood products if those left behind were not so battered and torn.
Trees are not the only things that change: people, landscapes, communities and churches change as the years come and go. Records of the changes would fill many volumes.
As I have watched trees through the years, I have thought how our lives are so like the trees.
Recently as we rode down the Natchez Trace one of my favorite roads — I thought again of this comparison. One kind of tree stood out — still holding the leaves which will stay until spring. These trees are like some people. They dare to be different.
Christians must sometimes be different. Jesus commanded that we "be not conformed." He knew those who choose Him and His commandments would not always blend in with others and surroundings. Though too often when the time comes to make a decision, we take the easy way, the road of least resistance, refusing to be different.
On the Trace I saw many trees laden with red berries with no leaves to hide them. The birds feast on these. God permits me to enjoy the beauty and provides food for His sparrows.
Each of the trees I saw on the Trace was unique and interesting. I saw one which vividly reminded me of the many changes which take place in our lives over a long period of time. The tree had simply broken at the ground. Did it begin to die at its roots? Then, without security to hold it in place or a source of food, the entire tree died, only the long trunk was left.
How easily our lives, bit by bit and without our realizing the changes, can become like this fallen tree. Decay begins in the deepest recesses of our beings and shows first in the little things. We look past the one who needs a smile and brief "Hello," the young person laboring with the many temptations of the day, the young parents feeling the weight of rearing little ones. These oversights may not be obvious at first sight. It takes time for the roots to die and the rot to become visible in the tree. We are like the limbs. We literally fall off when we are not being useful. We become a part of the decomposition.
When the decay begins to show, we may see the beginning of change, but its importance doesn’t register. The tree has lost its vitality. We show signs of letting go of what were previously objects of caring concern. In a state of slow decay, we do not notice things and people that once moved us deeply. We lose the vitality of spirit in the absence of healthy roots. Roots must be fed and properly nourished. We must send down meditation, prayer, and other sources of these essential foods.
Although we were once overflowing with the excitement of the Christian life, little by little and unseen and unnoted the roots can begin to die. Then the part visible to others loses its life too. All these changes take place slowly. We do not realize what is happening until, alas, the decay has done its work and we literally fall to continue our slow disintegration.
I find a very personal lesson in the comparison of my life to a tree, and I am trying to become more conscious of how I spend each day, for one day at a time is what we have.
I have resolved to let those dear to me know how precious they are to me. I should begin with my Lord. I am trying to be more aware of my actions. I want to be the tree grown greater and more useful — not the tree fallen and showing decay at the roots.
Spring and Easter are indeed the symbols of life and growth, and I pray for renewed vigor of our Christian lives.
Pre-need funeral arrangements are more sensible today than ever before.
Interest rates on investments (CD’s, bonds, savings accounts, etc.) are lower compared to the rate of inflation on funeral services than before. It may be wiser to invest in a prearranged funeral than to continue investing those funds at current low interest rates.
Consideration should be given also to the fact that, in today’s health-care climate, funds are available to supplement health-care costs; however, few funds are available to assist with funeral expenses. In recent years, Social Security and veterans' benefits have been reduced.
Call us at the Funeral Home (662-234-7971) to talk about the benefits of pre-need arrangements for you and your family. Taking care of your funeral plans and expenses could be the kindest and most practical thing you can do for your family.
Included below, as in some past issues of Seasons, is a question we have been asked about funerals along with our answer.
Should children be allowed to attend funerals? Families have to decide for themselves based on the individual situation as each family and each situation is different. Mary Beth Moster in her book, When the Doctor Says It’s Cancer, expresses her belief that children over three years of age should be permitted to attend the funeral and burial of a loved one — some other authorities have suggested four years of age as a minimum. But, as Ms. Moster says in her book: "It is hard if the child’s first encounter with death is that of a parent, but he needs to be included in these ceremonies. The experience of the funeral is important in helping the living, including children, come to terms with the fact of death."
We dedicate this issue of Seasons to those who have died and whose families we served from November 21, 1991, to February 24, 1992.
Mr. Vaster Sylvia Tarver 11/21/91
Mrs. Lane Bishop Raines 11/23/91
Miss Myrtle S. Rushing 11/26/91
Mr. William Hassell McLarty 11/26/91
Mr. Aubrey Herschel Knight 11/27/91
Mrs. Mattie Hudgins Blais 11/28/91
Mr. Walter Floyd Roy 11/29/91
Mrs. Dixie Hyde Rey 12/l/91
Mr. John Neely Davis 12/4/91
Mrs. Mary Catherine Kingery 12/5/91
Mr. Jimmy Everett Mize 12/7/91
Mrs. Pearl C. Landreth 12/7/91
Mr. Albert Floyd Parker 12/9/91
Mr. Gerald L. "Buddy" Hawkins 12/11/91
Mrs. Maxine Melton Brumfield 12/17/91
Mr. Chester Birdie Drewrey, Jr. 12/19/91
Mrs. Merle Crockett Mize 12/21/91
Mrs. Elma Deer Woods 12/21/91
Mr. Jerry Hill 12/22/91
Mrs. Jessie Johnson Neal 12/22/91
Mr. Jay Meade Tobias 12/22/91
Mr. Lesley Guy "Doc" McGregor 12/25/91
Mr. Hubert Q. Stewart 12/26/91
Mrs. Geneva Schermerhorn Folk 12/29/91
Mr. Robert Earl Mize 12/31/91
Mr. David Christian Hollowell 1/1/92
Mrs. Nellie Johnson Sims 1/2/92
Mr. Ben Walton Maples 1/7/92
Mr. Cleo Winford Daniels 1/9/92
Mr. Joseph Newton Lawhorn, Jr. 1/10/92
Mr. J. A. "Bilbo" Shepherd 1/14/92
Mrs. Ella Delores White 1/14/92
Mrs. Mary Jane King 1/14/92
Mr. Elton L. "Hook" Hooker 1/14/92
Mrs. Ripple Brown Myers 1/16/92
Mr. Winon Howard Bagwell 1/17/92
Mrs. Ruby Livingston Metts 1/18/92
Mr. Victor Henry Kulpa 1/18/92
Mrs. Vada Herring Deckard 1/19/92
Mrs. Annie Odell Clark 1/21/92
Mrs. Myrtice Potts Reid 1/22/92
Mr. Lois Pierce Henderson 1/22/92
Mr. John Bramlett Woolverton 1/26/92
Mr. Paul R. Crockett 1/29/92
Mrs. Lillian Tankersley McElreath 1/31/92
Mrs. Dewey Hardaway Carwile 2/2/92
Mrs. Eura Lee Curtis 2/9/92
Mr. Aubrey Clay Hickey 2/9/92
Mr. D. D. Stone 2/9/92
Mr. Elmer Scott Dooley 2/10/92
Mrs. Mary Nell Nelson 2/11/92
Mr. Russell Woodburn 2/11/92
Mrs. Dovie Echols Holmes 2/15/92
Mrs. Hattie Mae McLarty 2/18/92
Mrs. Corrine Tyler Godbold 2/20/92
Mr. Samuel Ernest Hagland 2/20/92
Mrs. Beulah Simmons Wait 2/23/92