More To Bent Trees

So many add to my life…and with some encouragement…help more steps to happen.

From John and Dawn Keonig in Rockport, Washington, their Facebook today shared this from Ram Dass:

“When you go out into the woods and you look at trees, you see all these different trees. And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever. And you look at the tree and you allow it, you see why it is the way it is. You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way. And you don’t get emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree. The minute you get near humans, you lose all that. And you are constantly saying, ‘You’re too this, or I’m too this.’ That judging mind comes in. And so I practice turning people into trees, which means appreciating them just the way they are.”

It is to value God’s creation. In a month when John and I cast for early winter steelhead on the Skagit River, I will appreciate the mountains and the valley and the powerful flow of the river. I will appreciate the eagles nesting in tree tops. No less, when the steelhead grabs the bait and I set the hook and the river explodes, oh my, ALIVE in creation. Much can be said about “just the way they are.”

With that, though, comes the possibility…and with some the actuality…of judgment. This morning, my San Marcos buddy, Art Johnson, in his report to the employees of McCoy Lumber Supply in Texas, said the primary purpose of judging is to offer what can be construction. [That works for more than building houses, Art!]

Often, though, the offering of an opinion is seen as desecration…or from the voice of judgment, self-elevation.

It’s not a toss-up, though, on whether you say something…or mute your thoughts. I believe earnestly what you say and how you relate is a function of what you value. For instance, there are some colleagues who give “clueless” its classic definition. However, to say something to them is to try to unbend the tree…and that ain’t happening.

In most cases, though, careful judgment has a purpose—to bring new insights and maybe even wisdom to others. In hopes they will hear because I care. And when I’m told, as I was recently about some thoughts on how to increase all kinds of giving for church members—that my thoughts were presumptuous—well, as my family used to say in German, so geht es im Leben. {Such is Life.]

So. John and Dawn and Art…you have helped my Saturday…considerably. You have been light and I turn in your direction…with gratitude and an even greater appreciation for our friendship. That will help unbend me a little.


About Mark H Miller

Diane and I live in Leander, Texas. This past June 17, 2015 I celebrated the 49th anniversary of my ordination. We returned to Texas after three years in Washington, during which I served as interim minister in Bellevue/Eastgate and Mercer Island. Am planning to begin a 5th novel that will have my protagonist, Tricia Gleason, serve a year in licensed ministry in Snoqualmie, Washington. The novel, "The Lemon Drop Didn't Melt," will find Tricia wrestling with ministry challenges. None of which more daunting than someone wanting her breathing to stop. All the published novels are available on Amazon and Amazon Kindle under Mark Henry Miller. A primary goal in our return to Texas is to make sure grandchildren get lots of attention--here and in Chicago and Washington, D.C. Traveling is definitely an activity that will not slow down. With that, of course, fishing will happen. To that the t-shirt is apt, "I fish; therefore I am." In addition to novels, the book of Blogs, "Voice Of My Heart," is also available on Amazon.
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One Response to More To Bent Trees

  1. Cathy Grein says:

    Mark, You are truly an inspiration and have helped me on many occasions. I am blessed to count you as a friend.

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