Thursday, May 02, 2013

Awareness or If a Tree Grows...

office palm tree
I am amazed at how unaware I can be.  I arrived at my office after a week's vacation on Tuesday and there was a palm tree.  I had no idea how it had gotten there.  Now, we're in process of redesigning our landscaping and that includes removing some palm trees along the side of the sanctuary building.  I was not happy to see this tree next to the office.

Now, one of the joys about a small church is that we have folk who take ownership.  One of our buildings has needed an external paint job for a few years and one Saturday a month or so ago, a church member showed up, scraper in hand, and began doing the prep work.  The need was obvious and he just embraced the task (thanks Greg!).   Since then he has begun priming.  Back to the tree, I was sure that someone had decided that the area in front of the office is ugly (it is) and that things are moving too slowly in the landscape project (they are), so they planted a large and expensive palm tree.  It was neatly dug around the tree and everything looked carefully done.  So, I sent an e-mail to the board member responsible for the grounds. "Did you plant a palm tree?"  "No.  I hate palm trees."  So, I asked the nursery school directors if they had had anything to do with planting a tree.  "No..." 

Nobody knew anything about a new tree having been planted.  And here's why... there was no new tree.  This tree stood outside my office door and every day I pass by it and every day, I did not even notice it was there.  I can't say whether I am more amazed or embarrassed.  How could I be so unaware of my surroundings as to be surprised by that tree after 11 years?  What made me notice it on Tuesday after not noticing it for so long?  And most importantly, what else have I missed?  Missing a palm tree is no big deal, but there are issues that are very, very important.  Have I missed any of them?  Have I walked by and not noticed another's pain?  Have I misread the intentions of others?  Have I not noticed the people in my life?  I don't even know... and that worries me.

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