Seeing ordinary in a different light
There's a tree in the paddock down from our house which isn't beautiful. It's not sweeping, stately or beautifully shaped. It's scrappy. A bit raggle-taggle. It could have done with a prune - or several - over its life.
I don't look at this tree a lot. Right now, in winter, it's grey, without leaves, a mess of sticks. Usually my eye goes to the sweeping bank of grass, the path of trees along the river, the hedge we grew in our garden, or the expanse of sky, blue or coloured, depending on the time of day.
Today, though, I looked at that tree. It was late afternoon; the sun was a quiet gold, pushing its way into the corner of my eye to make me blink. So I did. I blinked. And then I saw that the tree was gold too.
The sun had caught it, like it had caught me, and the light had made it into something altogether different from its scraggy, scrappy self: a glowing chandelier of copper.
For a moment, I wondered where it had appeared from, this candelabra of branches, and then, of course, I recognised it. That tree. But it's different now.
This week I've been discontented and tired. My responsibilities have felt like burdens; I've resented the ordinary and the rag-tag. Nothing has felt right; nothing has been glorious. It has felt like everything needed a prune - or several.
This afternoon, a tree lit gold with the light of the sun through its ordinary, rag-tag branches, has given me a gift: the understanding that my ordinary is what it is. It may not be everything ideal that I want; it may be hard, and need pruning, but when God's light shines on it, it can be transformed - if I have eyes to see it.
* I tried to take a picture of the tree, but I only had my phone, and it didn't come up well, so I've chosen a photo of something equivalent.