Brushing past

These musings have been rumbling in an unspoken corner of my mind for weeks, ever since I took these photos in my backyard after a February blizzard. How like the fingers of a woman, these branches. Buds of maroon fertility sit like painted nails on the fingertips of these branches, heralding the coming of spring, the warming of the earth and running of the sap for maple syrup. Hands outstretched, this little sapling offers me her gift, crystalline collection of heavy snow. Frigid offering. I snap that photo, and brush past in a hurry to the next one. Turning back, I notice her empty fingers. Offering spent, gift brushed aside. A moment of callous oblivion from my shoulder, and she holds that hand outstretched, barren.

This image has stayed with me. In conversation last night, I probed too deep in a friend's confusion. Oblivious, self-centered, wanting to win an argument or at least expose uncertainty. Brushing past without paying attention. Friendship can shrivel so quickly, relationship falter, love evaporate.

When I see hands full, outstretched to me, I pray I notice. I pray I pause. How then to fulfill that Proverb, as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another (27:17)? How to sharpen each other without scarring each other, to be authentic, and truth-filled, yet not harsh and uncompromising? To put one of Jesus' last edicts into action, Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:34-35) I want to be motivated by love, expressing love.

When I go, let me not be the woman that brushes past the tree and never sees the gift. Let me be remembered as a woman who loved.