Lauren said, “Have you ever read the book The Giving Tree?” I wracked my brain for a storyline. Of course I knew of the children’s book. I’m sure I read it at one point in time. It’s referenced quite often. My mind worked busily, trying to recall the moral of the story, a repeated line, even its mood. The only thing I came up with was that famous cover image: it’s all green, a tree stands tall, and a tiny boy looks up at it. Well, I just couldn’t stand my ignorance so I said, “Let’s have a story reading.” I put down my fork, wet with syrup for pancakes, and reached my arms out for the book.
I read it aloud, showing the book by holding it up to my right, granting a clear line of vision for my father and sister. My mind kept jumping ahead, trying to figure out where Shel Silverstein was going with it. But I could not have guessed…it went a more tragic direction than I expected. The tree gives to the little boy throughout the years. First it’s her apples, but as the boy gets older he demands more and more of her, until she’s chopped down to a stump. And at last, when he’s an old man, she says she has nothing left to give. But then she realizes she does have something, she invites him to sit on her stump to rest. “And the boy did. And the tree was happy. THE END.” We sat in silence for a moment. Dad had tears, as did I. I was blown away by the emotion that erupted forth from this little book. “Jesus.” I said it again, “Jesus. For some reason this makes me think of Jesus.”
I’m interested in that idea that sometimes we can see a play, read a book, look at a painting, experience something, and afterwards all we can say is, “Jesus”. We saw Him! I saw Him in the Giving Tree, peeking round the trunk of the tree. He was in Mary Poppins when I saw it on Broadway. He was in it twice. Once during the song “Feed the Birds” when He told me to go likewise and “Feed his sheep.” The other time I saw Him (spoiler alert) was when Mary soars out over the audience with her umbrella at the very end. The audience gasped, she got so close we could almost touch her. And I thought, “It’s like Jesus coming to earth so we could touch Him. We all want to reach out and touch Him.”
In what unexpected places have you seen Jesus? Seriously, I’d love to know. Maybe it’s not in art or literature for you (those are my loves), but maybe it’s in a DNA structure, or in a gracious interaction with a stranger. I’d love to hear your stories. Feel free to share in the comment section.