It stands above the roofline, the aspen on the north of the house, and it is special because we took it as a sapling from my husband’s childhood home when it was sold.
But this spring the leaves came out smaller than those of the adjacent aspen, and now they are brown and dry.
The tree is dying.
The gardener twirled the twig sample in his hand and said, Hmmm. Did you see any bore holes in the tree, with sap leaking out?
No, I said.
He broke it in half. Still green, he said. It’s not getting enough water. Something is keeping it from getting the water it needs.
That’s strange, I said.
Put a hose on it and give it a good soaking. See if that helps.
As I walked away, I stopped suddenly and turned back toward the gardener. I know what it is. It’s the glove.
The glove? he said.
Yes, several years ago a late spring snowstorm bent the young tree until it seemed it would break, so we staked the tree with rope and used a glove to keep the rope from tearing into the tree. When we went to remove the glove, the tree had begun to grow around it, so we left the glove in the tree.
That’ll do it, he said. It probably took that long for it to cut into the cambium layer of the tree and stop the water flow.
A glove never was supposed to be part of a tree.
There are things in my life that have been important to me for so long that they have become a part of my trunk, growing right into my soul with imperceptible slowness. But the too-much love of these things is keeping Christ from abiding in me as fully as he might if they were removed.
Paul says, “…be filled with the Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:18 NIV)
Filled and green-leaves-healthy is what I want.
But first the painstaking removal of all other loves.
Oh how it hurts to pull away what is ingrown.
How much do you want Christ? Enough to let him dissect from your life any impediment?