By Don Ferris
When I am Among the Trees
by Mary Oliver
When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines, they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.
I am so distant from the hope of myself, in which I have goodness, and discernment, and never hurry through the world but walk slowly, and bow often.
Around me the trees stir in their leaves and call out, "Stay awhile."
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, "It's simple," they say, "and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine."
I’ve struggled most of my Christian life “to go easy”. It’s the Evangelical church world I was born into, became a Christian, and served as a minister for fifty-one years. A local church was doing a series on the Fruit of the Spirit. The irony made me pause. Each sermon declared that it is the Fruit of the Spirit, and then preached it as something to achieve, strive for, and put into action.
Mary Oliver reminds me, of this amazing grace and who I am in relationship with God, my Loving Creator. I’m a branch, as Ignatius reminds us, “created of love, by love, and for love” for the blessing of the world. And, like the trees remind me, "It's simple," they say, "and you too have come into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled with light, and to shine."
The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius have been a wonderful guide for me to “go easy, be filled with light, and shine.” If you long for this simple freedom and a deeper intimacy with God, I invite you to join us for The Exercises, which begin September 16th.