Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Palm-Tree Deep Faith
Last Sunday, Pastor Doug spoke about the need to have deep rooted faith. He recollected a time when a big-huge pine tree fell down in his property and how marveled he was to see its tiny roots up in the air. He couldn’t believe such a big tree could have such a small root system. It was no wonder that it could be so easily uprooted.
The story made me think about my parents’ home. My Mom loved trees. At one time, our very sizable yard was covered with them. There were so many I can’t remember them all. The ones I remember very vividly, though, are the palms. Our house was fronted by about 5 mid-size, but majestic ones. I grew up looking at them, playing under their shade, eating their fruits. I didn’t have many friends back then, so I learned how to braid hair by weaving palm tree branches. The first thing that would greet me every time I’d come home was the palm trees waiving in the breeze. They would be the last ones waving goodbye as well every time I left.
I’m not an expert on trees, but I know that some root systems run pretty shallow and could even be seen on the ground surface, causing damage to sidewalks or building foundations. Palm tree roots run deep. Again, I am not a tree expert, but growing up surrounded by them, I remember hearing how the roots of a palm tree are very long and strong.
Apparently, palm roots are the same size at the stem or base as they are at the ends. This makes the tree difficult to pull up. It also means the roots will grow deep into the ground, getting nourishment that is not available on the surface. I also noticed that regardless of how old a palm tree was, it always looked the same. The trunks of those in our yard never looked “old.” I found out that must tree trunks are made up of dead wood while the living part, the cambium layer, is just inside the bark. This makes it easy for animals to ‘girdle’ a tree, nibbling the bark around the bottom and thus killing it. The palm, on the other hand, has living wood throughout. Therefore, it regenerates. These two factors make this tree a premier hurricane survivor. We have all seen pictures of bending palms in 100+ mile-hour winds. It is astonishing how they can weather such monster storms.
Many of the trees that we have around here have, what is explained as a “lateral” root system. This means that roots grow basically on the surface…we can see them…anyway…the obvious end to the path of my trend of thought is the realization that, perhaps, we should aim for our faith to have palm-tree-deep roots. A faith that grows deep to tap into the source of nourishment and power that maintains the outward alive and flexible while well anchored at the core to withstand the severe storms of life.
I’m glad I grew up in a land where the palm is king. I knew there had to be a life-lesson in such a special tree.
Long-gone are the days of my youth when I’d spend my care-free afternoons meandering in the shadows of our palms; but I will always cherish the moments I spent admiring their beauty and uniqueness. And even though my parents’ house is no longer my own, I can still see my old friends from the distance, greeting me in the breeze every time I visit home.