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The 100 Year Old Tree

This past week Katie and I said goodbye to one of the most beautiful pieces of God's creation this side of the Mississippi.

We had a 100+ year old tree in our backyard. It was located right smack in the middle of the yard, with some stones circling it to really showcase its prominence. It provided shade in the summer, a place to hang a 30' baby swing, and was a great anchor point for a handful of brave zipline adventurers at 40'.

When we bought the house we fell in love with the backyard. It was a deep lot size with a huge tree to provide fun for many generations. We bought the house and a few months after moving in, an arborist came and told us that the tree was unhealthy and needed to be cut down. There was a section of dead wood at the base where a large branch must have fallen off a decade or so prior. It had left a nasty scab on the side of the tree where rot and bugs were now taking over. Any other part of the tree and we could have easily cut it off, but this was at the base of the tree.

We were able to stretch the tree's life an extra 5 years after that initial diagnosis before we realized that the tree really did need to come down. It was growing some weird fungi that put off garbage-like smells during the summer, making it less than pleasant to sit by the tree. We knew our happy days by the tree were numbered.

Last week some highly skilled tree climbers (one with a wooden leg) came and took down the tree. It was both sad and joyous all at once. In one case, we knew that by the tree dying, our yard would be given new life--more sunlight would allow for more gardening, and by removing the tree from the middle of the yard, we would be able to play baseball or volleyball or anything else that required the whole yard.

But it felt unfair for us to be the ones to make the final call to tell the tree that it's life was over. Here was a tree that was potentially 150 years old (based on our calculations of counting the rings on the stump)--older than either of us would ever be--and we were the ones who get to determine its final days.

We knew that it's final days were at hand. All it would have taken was the right storm blowing in just the right direction and it would have fallen over, causing plenty of damage on its way down.

I understand that part of nature is death, but all death is too soon. I understand that part of life means eventual death, but death is sad for those of us left to deal with the traumatic change. I understand that death was the better alternative than suffering life, but I felt wrong for making that decision.

Death must transpire in order for new life to appear.

"For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh." -2 Cor. 4:11

"For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God." -Romans 6:10
So with all that said, if you need some firewood, we've got it by the truckload! Come and help yourself! 


  1. Beautifully written, my love. It was SUCH a great tree! (I'm going to go read "The Giving Tree" now and probably cry all over it.)


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