July 6, 2015: Tear of the Pine

~by Virginia Rhys Anson, OFS

A lone tear, disguised as a bead of sap, oozes from your bark. Little branch, chopped in your arbor youth, reminiscent of an ancient tree snuffed from its umbilical source. Its sap trickled free, the essence of its life mingling with its earthen womb, food for future life. Symbol upon symbol, your tear and the Ancient One’s sap reflect a life given, the blood sap drained so that humanity might eternally live.

Your tear haunts me. For I am lowly and do not deserve your sacrifice. Nor do I merit the oblation of the Ancient One or that of the God-man who hung from its bough. I conjure in vision, the Ancient One’s eye. This knot of imperfection stares back at mine, not appropriately frightened, but strangely placid and loving. Its phantom voice visits me further. “Yes, I know why I die. You see, the Eternal Creator asked me for a great favor, to humble myself as a repulsion, as a stigma to those who looked upon my frame. He asked me to give my life so that His Son could die for you. He asked me to hang in tandem humility with the Savior of humanity, to support His Son as His eternal, live-giving essence drained from His sacred body. How could I refuse my God?”

Little Branch, you, as did the Ancient One, submitted your life as an instrument for my salvation, for my spiritual growth toward God. I gaze upon your tear and see the sacrifice of my Savior who shed the ultimate ounce of His blood for me. Your gift of your life, surrendered for me, poignantly humbling. Is yours a tear of sadness at the reflection of your demise? I think not. It be a tear of joy—an exultation at the bestowal of such a divine honor.

Death of limb, death of pine, death of Savior. One death foreshadows another, foreshadows a third—my salvation to win. One Calvary, sap mixed with blood, the honor of such a humble tree exalted for eternity because of the sacrifice that hung from its beams. Jesus used the lowly to bestow the greatest of gifts on errant human beings, a gift we do not disserve, a gift we could not, of our own, obtain—adoption by the Creator of the universe. The life blood of the Savior nailed to the tree, flowed to earth mingled with sap. Blood and sap flowed to give life that cannot be taken, flowed to give life that is eternal.


Virginia Anson grew up in the shadows of Sandia Crest in New Mexico. Family camping trips may have sparked her passion for nature. She holds an A.S. in Electronics Technology, a B.A. in Writing, an M.F.A. in Creative Writing, and a certificate in Wildlife/Forestry Conservation. Her book, Mother Earth’s Caretakers, targets middle school youngsters and is published as an e-book for Kindle. Virginia is a Vietnam Era veteran of the U.S. Air Force, and her volunteer endeavors see her as a lector, Eucharistic minister, and sacristan in her parish and as a habitat steward for the National Wildlife Federation. She especially cherishes her life in the Secular Franciscan Order, following in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi.


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