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God’s Tree
Written by Paul Landis Delaune

My dear friend,

     It was a week or two before Christmas 1997.  I had been
experiencing a lot of “stuff” in my life and as a result I felt
disconnected from others and like I had no purpose.   So one day around
lunch-time I decided to get away from my desk and out of my apartment to
spend some time outside, which I love doing.

     At the time, outside the apartment complex I lived in, the
neighborhood was undergoing a lot of changes.  A main street was being
widened, a water retention lake was being dug and the mall down the
street had been demolished with construction on a new shopping center
begun.  Things were a mess with the noise of construction vehicles and
equipment as well as that of commuters, residents of the area, shoppers,
local businesses, and community services. Besides that, there was an
occasional jet taking off or landing at the nearby international
airport. I proceeded through all this to the former mall area, finding a
place to sit in the parking lot not far from the front of  K-Mart.

    I sat in my wheelchair in the sun, facing part of the demolished
mall as two huge earth movers were in the process of picking up and
dropping huge chunks of concrete in order, I guess, to break them into
smaller pieces that would fit in the dump trucks removing debris from
the mall area. To my right were other stores with people, cars and
trucks going and coming, as well as reconstruction beginning to take
place. To my left was a restaurant with cars pulling in and out (the
aroma was heavenly). Behind me was a main commuter artery with a traffic
light at one of the entrances into the mall parking lot with other
businesses beyond and all the noise of mid-day traffic. Near me were a
few trees with singing birds while in the distance an airplane was
taking off or landing. Here I am sitting in the midst of this busy,
noisy “chaos” and I close my eyes to meditate. What’s wrong with this

     As chaotic as my life felt at that time, it seemed like the place
to be and here I felt comfortable and at peace. The first thing I
realized was that everything going on around me reflected what was going
on within ME. Around me, as well as in me, the pulse of life was flowing
here and there and ever onward. The demolition and construction going on
outside of me matched the changes going on within me—physically,
emotionally & spiritually—growth isn’t easy sometimes, especially when
we don’t know where all the changes in our lives are taking us.

      The aromas from the restaurant reminded me of the fond memories I
have of eating there and of more fond experiences to come in my life.
And the singing birds in the trees reminded me of the music in my life
and of that “still, silent Voice” that I know is ever speaking to me,
even when I’m not sure what is being said.

     Above all, I re-discovered my purpose in life is to love others and
to do it my way in my daily and weekly activities. To love. I like that.
What a wonderful purpose in life!

    I also realized I’m not disconnected from others and the activities
going on around me. Like the leaves of a tree, we are all connected in
that we are part of a wonderful, majestic creation. Picturing myself and
all of us as parts of God’s tree gives me a wonderful feeling inside.

      I have come to a point where I often experience my connection with
life and in my activities. I admit, at times, I still feel disconnected
from others and life some, but knowing I’m one of many, many leaves on
God’s tree helps me reacquire my focus. This is written to my many
fellow leaves. Remember: we are all connected!

I love you,

A leaf named Paul