In our backyard, we have a meyer lemon tree.We love that tree.
She is a fantastic tree.
For the past 5 years, the tree has faithfully given us some of the
best lemons known to man.
Firm and tart with a hint of sweet almost orange flavor to them.
They are really lovely when in a lemonade or frosted lemon scone.
My mouth is watering just thinking about them.
Then, for some reason last year, the lemon tree began to go bald.
This caused me no end of distress.
You could see through to its hollowed out center
that there was no life on the inside of the tree,
no leaves at all, just brittle branches and poky thorns.
The outer part of the tree was dropping leaves left and right,
offering up only a paltry amount of tiny very hard lemons.
So when my mom and Dad came out this summer,
they got online and researched how to fix an ailing lemon tree.
The answer was to strip it of all its branches and whitewash it
to keep it from scorching in the sun.
So we did. Branch by branch, limb by limb,
mom and dad and I hacked and clipped and chopped
and took it down to the trunk.
It looked naked and sad....and naked.
A very forlorn un-lemony lemon tree.
But clearly, my mom and dad are tree whisperers because
the craziest thing has started happening in the past few weeks.
The tree has started sprouting new leaves.
Tiny flags of green unfurling from the trunk are announcing life
and health and....hope.
I have always envisioned hope as more of an airy thing,
like a sweeping song or a bird on the wing,
something that takes flight in our souls and sends us soaring.
But in Proverbs 13:12 it talks about hope in a differnent way. It says
"Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life."
The thought "hope deferred"
has a sick-leaf-dropping kind of feeling to it, doesn't it?
But a dream fulfilled...a tree of life...
those words have sense of being grounded and full.
They carry the scent of new beginnings with them...
the promises of buds and lemon flowers and grass-green leaves.
They give the assurance of sturdy branches filled with ripe fruit.
that keep on replenishing and growing,
filling up and out and heaven-ward.
Hope can be a small seed of belief that takes root in our soul
and births something better, something brighter,
and something heavier with joy, bringing sustenance and life.
It seems that there is only one place that true hope is grown.
It is in the One who created the lemons.
Despite desperate circumstances, dying dreams,
and insurmountable odds,
if we can deposit a small kernel of hope in Him,
new growth is guaranteed.
Fresh mercies are found.
Second chances are inevitable.
Miracles are possible.
Uncharted paths are revealed.
And hope blooms.
Even for a naked lemon tree.