We had to cut down my favorite tree.
An ice storm last April ravaged my river birch, which we planted during first summer here on the farm. It had grown up tall, right alongside our girls, spreading its arms out over our front yard. Every spring, the tree donned her shimmering greenish-gold dress, twirling it in the spring breeze. Summer rustled up under her skirt in July, and then she quietly undressed herself every autumn to reveal her stark, cinnamon-colored skeleton.
But we had to cut her down. She was dying.
And there’s this scar in the front yard, a cut stump, reminding us what had to be cut away.
* * * * *
We have scars, too. Other people can’t always see all of our scars, the places where we’ve been hurt and the parts of us that have felt like they were ripped away.
Scars can have incredible power over us. They remind us that our pain was real, but even more, they remind us that we’ve healed.
You can see some of my physical scars — like the one between my eyebrows where I bonked into the corner of a dresser playing hide and seek in the dark.
And you can see the faint outline of a Y-shaped scar on my left leg, a scar that I hope never disappears. I declined the insurance company’s offer to pay for plastic surgery. I wanted to keep the scar, because it reminded me of what I survived: a nearly head-on collision on a wintry morning in January 2009.
That morning, I was listening to a song about Yahweh by Chris Tomlin, just as the other car crossed the center line. In the ER, the doctors stitched up that wound, and it looked like a big “Y” on my leg. I felt like I’d been marked with the initial of Yahweh.
Ever since that day, I see Ys everywhere. Margaret Feinberg might call that sort of persistent appearance a “sacred echo.” I see the sacred echo of Yahweh in the cracks of sidewalks, the contrails of airplanes in the sky, the way branches overlap, and the way arms look when lifted heavenward in praise.
Every so often, a little girl at my country church — Kayla Jenson — will bring me a Y stick, reminding us both that God is “before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
To me, the Ys point to Yahweh — and His habit of saturating the world with His glory. It might seem a tad childish, to find Ys in places like the sky and the crack of a sidewalk. I suppose someone might call this wishful thinking or coincidence or pure nonsense, that a 41-year-old woman goes looking for Ys. Even more ridiculous, but just as true, is this: sometimes the Ys coming looking for us.
Every so often, that birch tree in the front yard would beckon. So I’d stretch out my legs on the grass, under her canopy, and look down to see the Y scar on my leg.
Scars are evidence that we’ve been alive on this earth. And so, I gasped with glory when, after that favorite tree of mine was cut down, I saw that deep inside, the tree bore this scar:
“When the world says no way, we say Yahweh.” ~ Bob Lenz
More of my Ys:
From my friend Shelly Miller:
From my friend Jessica Bolyard:
From my friend Cheryl Smith, a “Y” in the asphalt…
If you ever see a Y that you want to share with us, upload it to my Facebook page here. Happy Y-sighting! And happy weekend. 🙂
The Miracle on Highway 75
How To Answer Every Why
When the World Says No Way