"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called ye out of darkness, into His marvelous light."I Peter 2:9

ISSUE SEVEN

Which Way Are You Leaning?

By Jeannie Kirkpatrick

I am but one in this community of "like trees" sitting on this high, mountain knoll. We are a close knit group of maple trees, yet we do allow other species to grow along side us. In fact we are a protection for many new seedlings and tiny, tender plants who fall, or are windswept beneath our canopy.

Did you notice that, although, we are all "like trees", each of us have our own characteristics which we have developed over our years of growth? Personally, my growth seems to lean somewhat. This is because I love to reach toward the sun. And also, you can see from where my roots and trunk are precariously positioned on this sloping hill, I naturally lean towards the more stable, firm ground above me.

Did you notice how tall I am growing? I had to grow quickly to reach the sunlight. I mean to tell you, I had to go to great lengths to find the sun. Why, my every waking moment, has been a search for this life-giving provider. I learned mighty early in my growth that if I was to survive, I had to do my stretch, stretch, stretching exercises morning, noon, and night. Yes, by my faithfulness to these stretching exercises, I have become a part of "like trees" who live here on this high knoll.

You can tell by my girth I am becoming one of the older generation of trees in my community. I just pray my life here is an example to the other saplings beginning their growing process close to me. Yes, as I look around me, I can see these young ones in the community leaning toward the sun, and sending forth their root systems out, to be anchored firmly on higher ground. And when I am doing my stretching exercises, I can hear these young ones push, push, pushing up.

Alas, here and there, I also see a few who are bending down-hill, seeking to find their own way. If only they would have followed our example... Even though they are stretching forth, they cannot find the sun in the direction they are taking. It's so sad to see them becoming weaker and weaker every year. If only they would have . . .

If you look to my right you can spot my good friend "Curvy". My, he is sure a sight. For as long as I can remember, Curvy would be constantly changing his mind. One year he would lean towards the sun, the next year he would turn and find his own way. I think this happened for over seven years; first he leaned one way and then another. But you know, I think Curvy has finally decided to lean towards the sun, because for the last few seasons, Curvy has begun to grow straight and tall.

Yes, we are all "like trees" growing here on this mountain knoll, but each of us have developed our own unique characters by which way we have decided to learn.

Those who have decided to reach for the sun and higher ground . . . or those who are becoming "lean" . . . in their downward outlook.

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