How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days – John Burroughs
How wonderful it would be if we could all grow old as beautifully as the leaves do. They seem to foretell the glory of eternity.
We have all known an elderly person that seems to radiate joy and peace, as though they were robed in rich silks and wearing a crown. Would that we all strive to become like them as the seasons of our own lives change.
This is the Joseph Tree. Several years ago, we came to this place. It was up for sale by lottery and the USDA was hosting an open house. As we walked back from the upper field and woodland, we stopped and prayed that if it was God’s will, He would make it ours. We returned several days later with our children and buried a statue of St. Joseph among the roots. We were not the fortunate winners, so we carried on looking at other farms. That search took us all over the state and as far away as Kentucky.
But our hearts were always here.
After a few more years of feeling like we had been wandering in the desert, we discovered that this farm might be available again. We prayed for peace about making an inquiry. It was a long, long process but eventually – and on my 40th birthday – we signed the closing paperwork. His timing was perfect.
One day, there will be a beautiful statue of St. Joseph here – above ground – evidence of his faithful prayers on our behalf, and of our gratitude for his tender care. As difficult as these five years have been, we are filled with gratitude every morning at the enormous gift of this place; and humbled by the responsibility of stewarding for the rest of our lives.
When your youngest child of nine climbs into bed between you as the sun is beginning to rise, and you realize that moments like these will soon cease to occur. Man and wife and child wrapped warmly in a family embrace. This moment is precious and holy.
Silently, you sob, tears stream down your cheeks and your body trembles. Out of joy and sadness. Joy for the gift, sadness for the passing of a season.
Then you realize that a tiny hand is stroking your arm and hand. And that little hand reaches up to stroke your cheek. It is wet, and he gazes at the tears on his palm for just a moment and begins to wipe the rest away. Then he curls his small body up, places his still wet hand on his own cheek, rests his head on your chest, and slips back into a slumber.