Eight years a Tree (an allegory of our marriage)

On a fine spring evening, not so long ago, a tree was born.

This is how it happened. A wise and skillful Gardener had planted two small seeds in nearly opposite ends of his garden. He carefully tended each one with great interest and delight for years and years, all the while planning to bring them together at just the right time. He faithfully fed, watered and pruned each one until their roots grew deep and strong.

When he saw the time was right, and the young saplings were strong enough, the Gardener uprooted each one in turn and planted them close together in a plot of fertile soil he had prepared long ago just for the two of them.

He continued to tend them carefully, ensuring each was strong in their own way, but he quite enjoyed watching them grow closer and closer together. When the time was right, he wound the two stalks around each other and fastened them together with a strong piece of twine. The two little saplings he’d spent so much time cultivating were now a single tree.

But when he stood back and observed his handiwork, he knew there was work yet to be done. He had done this sort of thing before; he knew the two saplings required a good deal of time and work in order to become fully united.

So he began. Water. Food. Shelter. Room to grow. An occasional tug on the twine to draw the two stalks closer together. After a few months, they started looking more tree-like to all observing, but the Gardener knew it wouldn’t take much to destroy this newly made tree unless he did something to make it stronger.

Here is what he did. With his strong, loving hand he gave the new tree a swift jerk that nearly tore the two stalks apart. In fact they would have fallen apart and each lain on the ground to shrivel and die if the Gardener had not held them fast with his other strong and steady hand.

Quite a picture it must have been, to see that Gardener standing there shaking the tree over and over again, all the while keeping the two stalks together with his firm grasp. He stood there doing this for what seemed like ages and ages, watching with a joyful satisfaction as the leaves that each individual stalk had spent so long developing fell to the ground and the two thin trunks grated against each other so fiercely that it was soon difficult to tell whose bark belonged to whom.

Eventually, the wise Gardener took another step back to survey his work. Thoughtful, he scraped his chin with one of his calloused hands and hummed to himself as he raised his eyebrows to welcome an idea.

Yes. This was just the thing. The Gardener took a bit of bark from each sapling, rubbed the pieces together, and cradling them gently in those magnificent hands of his, breathed hot breath onto them. With a laugh of pure joy and delight in his own wisdom, the Gardener blew the contents of his hands onto his new tree. 

Two shining blossoms burst forth from the now beaming tree. The blossoms did a masterful job of sometimes hiding and sometimes exposing the tree’s different stalks. But the two stalks couldn’t help drawing near to each other in their love for the blossoms.

The Gardener had planted, the Gardener had watered, the Gardener had moved, he had joined, he had stripped, he had held, he had given, taken away, and crowned.

But this Gardener was just getting started. His tree was looking a lot less like two stalks, a lot more like one trunk.

Still, there was much work yet to be done. The Gardener rejoiced. For making things new and beautiful was what he did best.