The apple tree is gone. Really.
Or, as the Munchkin coroner read from the death certificate of the wicked witch: …not only merely dead but really most sincerely dead.
I know you’ll be as sad as Dorothy was. It is just an apple tree, after all. Other trees were destroyed in the storm that blew through recently, some of much more import than my sad little apple tree. Century-old oaks, stately scarlet maples, huge sweet gums, all destroyed by the same careless gale that blasted past us as if none of it would matter in a year or so anyway.
It will. To me, it will.
I’ve written of the old tree before. I intended to do it in myself last fall but thought better of it. The eleventh-hour reprieve did it little good. My last written thoughts on the matter left me with hope (read about it here). Now seemingly, it was merely wishful thinking.
An old friend came this afternoon and helped me cut up the broken-off trunk. Right down to the ground, we cut it. As we drove away from the house later, the Lovely Lady suggested it was almost as if it had never been there.
I’ve walked around this evening with words in my head. I know they’re not true, but that doesn’t get them out of my head.
God didn’t make little green apples.
The words are part of a song written in the nineteen-sixties, sung by a number of country music stars. I realize there’s a phrase that comes before the one rattling around in my head, but it doesn’t matter to me right now.
I’m unhappy; can you tell?
As I write these words, I realize something else is making me unhappy. Something I don’t want to talk about. I’d rather go on about the sad little apple tree, lying in the scrap pile, awaiting transport to its final resting place.
I’d rather talk about missing the fresh apple pie and the homemade applesauce. But clearly, that’s not what’s going to happen here, so I might as well move on.
I’ve struggled with it for two weeks. I know—I’ve wrestled with it before and will again. Many of my readers will understand.
Two weeks ago, I got word that he was gone. My friend, too young to be old, sat at home in his chair and went away. I’ll never see him again in this lifetime. I’ll never again hear one of his corny jokes; never sit and listen to him play his beautiful Martin acoustic guitar and sing of the Savior he loved.
While I was trying to come to grips with the sadness Jack’s passing has brought on, I was reminded of another young friend who died unexpectedly eight years ago this week. The reminder hit me harder than I thought possible. I miss the kid more today than the day he died. He too was a guitarist who loved playing music that turned his listener’s hearts to worship.
I want to hear the music again.
Anything besides this little ditty going through my brain right now.
God didn’t make little green apples.
But, He did, you know. Every single one of them.
Our Creator conceived and produced those little things from the nothingness of eternity. From the dirt He made, he caused the trees and other vegetation to spring up, guaranteeing that they would perpetuate themselves through their seeds. (Genesis 1: 11, 12)
While creation remains, the apples will come again. Oh, the trees will outlive their season, but the fruit will never fail. Season follows season, harvest after planting, as He planned it. (Genesis 8:22)
And, wouldn’t you know it, the myth of death for those who know Christ is as false as the little ditty in my head. Eternal life belongs to all who believe in Him. (John 3:36)
My friends haven’t been carried off to any final resting place, even if their earthly packages were.
The music has never stopped, even if temporarily we don’t hear it. I’m confident the Heavenly Luthier builds a much better product than CF Martin ever constructed here. I may even get to play with them someday.
But no, I think I’ll sing in the choir with that red-headed lady who raised me. We’ll sing as loudly as we can there, too—just like the last I sang with her.
God did make little green apples.
You can almost smell the blossoms from here.
© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2019. All Rights Reserved.