"Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces I would still plant my apple tree." ~~ Martin Luther
This quote found its way to me a few days ago. It succinctly puts into one sentence a myriad of emotions, wonderings, and thoughts that are overwhelming me as this year comes to a close. I appreciate the metaphor of crossing thresholds from the past into the new and not yet discovered. It is scary and exciting. It is how we grow. However, at the same time, I am living in the midst of challenges in my own life as well as in the lives of those about which I care deeply. I am standing in an uncertain "gap" space holding incredible joys and very painful sadnesses not knowing quite where to plant my feet on the threshold of this year. In recent weeks, I have been very intentional about waking early and beginning my days with extended prayer, journaling, art, reading, etc. just to keep some sense of connection with the Holy in such an uncertain time. Many of you have shared your stories with me about being in a similar place and I know that others in the AWBA community may relate to this very gentle, tender, thin space that we occupy at times.
I believe deeply in the prospect of hope when everything around me seems to be broken or in conflict - in my own small community as well as in the larger world. I believe deeply in the prospect of beginning again when everything inside of me says, "No, not again. It takes too much work. Why can't I coast for a while???" I believe deeply in planning for tomorrow even though I am often reminded there is no promise I will have a tomorrow. It is certainly a different way of living and can seem to go against any kind of reality check, logic, scientific evidence -- whatever you want to call the thinking brain process.
How are we to choose life when captured by the reality of expanding brokenness, call up energy when personal exhaustion is a daily experience, and/or plan for tomorrow when today is not looking so great?
I believe that the answer lies within the power of community. When people choose together to "plant their apple tree" in the very moment in which God invites a resounding "Yes!" from us, we gain strength and energy from those around us making their own life-giving choices. When we consider that our community also includes the "cloud of witnesses" -- those, like Martin Luther, who have gone before us and have shown us how to persevere, we have a large community indeed.
The AWBA Community is about planting apple trees even when the next day is uncertain. So, in the midst of my own weariness, uncertainty, joys, griefs, loss, big dreams for the future, I plant my own apple tree firmly in the ground and invite you to do the same.
As you stand on the threshold to come in this new year, what might your "apple tree" look like? What would it mean for you to plant it firmly in the ground of your reality? Who can you share with to support you in that process? Who can you support as they plant something of importance in their own life?
Thank you for sharing this AWBA journey with me, with our faithful Board of Directors, and with those we serve. This community is growing and there is new life taking root in each of you that offer your presence here.