A tree spoke to me today. Can you see it? A strange sight, Gnarled and twisted by the fury of the winds and sea. You say, "How can you find beauty in its jagged form?" Ah! But to me its message is more appealing Than the quiet symmetry of a perfect tree. My tree stands on a rocky crag jutting out over the mighty ocean. Its footing seems precarious Yet its roots are twined in and about the rock Enabling it to withstand the storms that come. And come they do - fierce gales that bend the tree back toward the land. Whipping off its branches on the seaward side. Again and again the winds have done their worst. Trying to uproot my tree, trying to tear it from its moorings. Yes, it has had to bend its back but it has never broken; Its green arms can always stretch out to land. The ocean spray has spit upon it, Laughing at the seeming bravery of a single tree. The tree is like a life - yours or mine perhaps. The gales sweep about us Threatening to tear us from our footing. Sometimes they are about us; sometimes within us. And we become twisted and warped, Not able to maintain the beauty God intended for us. Yet as we send down our roots of faith [God's} love and mercy flows through us and heals our scars And helps us to reach out to others arms of help and kindness, Enabling [God's} beauty to still be seen in us, Imperfect though we are. Help us, O God, To be as brave and unswerving as my tree.