Life is being in relationship with God and being in community with others.
But the simplicity of living can be elusive to us. It seems counter-intuitive.
We tend to think more in terms of doing than being. So we labor at living. We exhaust ourselves trying to do what we ought to do, forgetting that all of our doing flows from our being.
God gives us an image to help us remember the essence of real living. “Be the tree.”
A tree planted by a stream flourishes. It remains green and fruitful as it continually draws life from the stream. Being in the Presence of God–attentive and receptive to Him–causes us to flourish. We remain fruitful in community with others as we continually draw life from Him.
Life is simple, but it hasn’t been easy for me. I’ve made real living much harder than it is. Being myself has been more difficult than I would have thought. As it turns out, much of my striving to do what I ought to do has really been my failed attempt at trying to be someone else. It was hard to be with God and with others when I wasn’t being myself.
Being with God was something that did not come easy for me either. For years I pursued God–through study and discipline–in such a way that I kept Him at arms length. I have only recently begun to experience His very real presence and to enjoy His company. I am learning to remain attentive and receptive to Him–alone and in community with others. And I’m seeing real fruit.
I like the tree life.
A watered fruit tree doesn’t strain to bear fruit, but yields its produce effortlessly according to its nature. It’s just being the tree.
So, whenever I revert to old habits and begin laboring, striving and fretting, I have to remind myself:
“Be the tree.”