Friday, October 28, 2016

A Single Tree

We left the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Cemetery in the same order that we’d entered: Hurst, Paul and then Vincent’s cars trailing behind. We would follow the Hurst back to the expressway and then branch off on our own.

Just after entering I-80 East bound, I glanced to my right and noticed a brilliantly red maple tree standing in the midst of several other trees, some green, others with dead or dying foliage. - It seemed to scream to me of life and zest; of vigor and determination to thrive in the midst its surroundings.

As I sat there in the back seat, clutching the folded American flag, to my breast, the last semblance of my brother’s leaving, I felt so all alone. There had always been an older brother or sister to encourage, counsel, reprove or comfort me – someone whom I’d always looked up to; but now there was no one. No one left but me. Just then I felt as if that red maple was speaking to me; as if it were holding out to me the hope it bore – being so vibrant and brilliant among forestry that had either met or was near its demise – it seemed to scream, “There is still much life in you; live it to the full, and don’t be discouraged. It doesn’t matter that you’re the only sibling left, you’re still vibrant, with much life, hope and happiness to share with others, just like me – a beacon of hope.”

“Am I going overboard here? Am I being too self-centered?” I mused. “It’s not the end of the world. I still have an active, affectionate husband, children who love me, nieces and nephews who enjoy my company and a host of friends”. Yes, friends who actually proved their loyalty, by flocking to the home where I was staying to get some one-on-one visitation in while I was there. I was so blessed! I was determined to take away with me, the lesson of the single tree.

Therefore, the life lesson I took away from seeing that lone red maple tree in the forestry, along the tollway was this: Virginia, shine where you are; bring joy to everyone who casts their eyes upon you. Prove that you can continue to flourish, even though each of your siblings has passed on to their rest. God has left you here for a reason. Therefore, seek out that reason and fulfill it – pure and simple.

The rest of my day went quite well. The five of us who had gone to the internment, stopped and broke bread together at the Cracker Barrel; Paul told jokes and reminisced about his dad; I laughed so hard I nearly choked and the rest of the group laughed at me, laughing at Paul. It was good. I was surrounded by live loved ones, who loved and cared for me. What more could I ask for or want?


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