I am reposting an article I’ve posted several times in the past at this time of year, featuring a poem written by my friend, Darlene Dubay, entitled, “Tree of Hope,” reflecting on the tree itself that became the cross on which Jesus was crucified.
Starting from a tiny seed, Darlene conceptualizes what that tree was thinking as it grew, was chopped down and became a cross.
Darlene is a talented and gifted writer and poet and her book, Walking is a Prayer: Glimpses of a Spiritual Journey, was released in 2020. You can find more details on her website, dmdubay.com. It is a book I wholeheartedly recommend.
There are many poems each of us can relate to with beautiful pictures added to further illustrate the poem. I have added a podcast episode to this year’s re-posting.
Love and The Tree of Hope
“For God so loved the world….” John 3:16
Love. People sing songs about it, create movies with love as its theme, and try to find words to express it in books. It is a gift – we can’t earn it, we don’t deserve it, and yet we find it so hard to receive. What greater love can anyone have than sacrifice their life for another, as Jesus did for us.
Tree of Hope
I remember being a seed, full of hope, dreaming.
I would be the tallest tree, and proud.
Then, thrust into the ground, I shuddered.
Darkness overcame me and I broke.
No longer latent, I began to search for light.
Yet wanting to be anchored, I thrust my fingers deeper into ground.
They laughed at me as I broke free.
“A twig,” they said: Insignificant nothing.
Yet I dreamed of becoming—magnificent I’d stand, towering above—mighty.
When finally ready I would be mercifully cut to become
A pillar, strong and straight to hold the weight of majesty aloft.
Or maybe I would be fashioned as a cradle,
Holding precious life, or toy or tureen—useful—
bringing pleasure by being used.
I did not fear the saw; it was a long way off.
But when it finally came. I cried,
“No, let me grow a little more. I want to be the biggest and the best.
I want my glorious form to be admired.”
I lay there on the ground, helpless—
My fate in the hands of those who ripped me from my roots.
It did no good to protest. My voice could not be heard.
Lying prostrate, I imagined what I would become.
It was not good. Their evil tones were hinting shame and disgrace.
“No!” I cried. “I did not grow for this.”
My limbs were ripped and nailed into a form
So horrible—degrading—a mockery of what was meant to be.
Bitter nails drove into my flesh,
But worse was yet to come.
Dragged and carried in my ugly form, I tried my best to help the struggling one,
But felt my weight grow heavier with each step.
Then on the top of that ignominious hill,
They laid me prostrate to accept my fate.
I felt his flesh caress the roughness of my bark.
I groaned in shame that I would be the one
To lift His whipped and trampled body far aloft for all to see.
I felt the spikes drive precious flesh and blood into my wood.
Helpless, there I stood, as I was lifted with my treasure.
Oh, the shame! The agony! The jeering crowds saying,
“It’s the end. His suffering has no meaning. ”
All is lost. What victory lies in death?
What justice shines through bitter clouds of hate?
I felt his spirit leave and fear of being discarded racked my being.
The coldness of his absence permeated me
And I wished for burning fires of purification.
Better to be cleansed than to lie rotting in the dirt.
The emptiness of my ugly form was wretched. I watched them haul him off—just another lifeless piece of flesh.
And me? I only hoped that I could fade to nothing.
On the third day, though, he returned.
He held me close and promised—what?
I could not comprehend.
“I live,” he said. “I am alive forever.”
“How can it be?” I cried. “I felt your soul’s anguish
And despair. I know the emptiness of your departing.
I never want to be the one who displays
Your trampled, lifeless body up for all to see.”
He held me closer then and I knew it had to be this way.
My gift of self will be forever a symbol of great love.
My collaboration in his plan will always be
The means to life eternal.
I’m honored. I am cherished.
And every day and moment
Someone remembers by my sign—
True life awaits those who hold me closest to their heart.
I wish each of you a blessed Easter, knowing that it was the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, his death, and resurrection, that brings us this blessed holiday as well as the love, hope and grace we all desire.
To discover more about Darlene’s writing talent, visit https://dmdubay.com/