Posted by: Peadar Ban | November 20, 2011

I Want to Get to Know Jesus More

That freak storm a few weeks ago, the Nor’easter that roared up the East Coast and tore the place a new something or other knocked the tops off a couple of oaks in my back yard, and knocked one clean down.  Today the fellow I contacted about a week ago came by to take a look at things and give me a price on cleaning up the mess Mother Nature made during her fit.

It will cost me a month’s pay before he’s done, but that’s the way of it.  I happen to like the way the guy does business.  I liked him from the first time I saw him across the street behind my neighbor’s house last year; him and his two sons.  I’d just finished with some tree guys a month or so before.  They’d been in to remove a couple of diseased and rickety oaks which threatened my neighbor’s house.  One morning a huge crane showed up, a huge truck and several, maybe a dozen, I don’t know, huge guys, too.  The crane lifted the trees whole after they’d been cut at the bottom, swung them over the house and into the chipper.  Cut! Lift! Chip!  Gone!  But the noise and diesel smell all the while rattled my bones for about four hours.

Flowers now grow where 70 foot trees once did.  That’s a blessing.

Then these guys showed up.  All I heard was the sound of a chain saw, and the thump of sections of trees falling to the earth, trunks and branches.  They didn’t even climb the trees.  They threw a rope over a high limb and climbed the rope, hand over hand.  Then they pulled up their saw and began working their way down to the ground.

I walked over and talked to the “Old Man”, a guy about my age with a build like a middle weight.  He’s an arborist, someone who takes care of trees…a Tom Bombadil kind of guy I guess.  “I don’t like doing things the way they do it now.  Even putting on cleats and climbing up the trunk if all you’re going to do is prune it wounds the tree,” he told me when I asked him what he was doing.  I asked him for his card, and made a promise to myself there would be no more cranes lifting trees over my house at a grand a day.

So, that’s why he was here today. We got along just fine.  He told me he didn’t always do this, working as a senior design engineer for a while before tossing it all to work outdoors.  He likes trees, he said.  I do, too.

I wear a small “green stone” cross around my neck on a black cord.  It was a gift from our friend Alys Thorpe who lives in New Zealand and with whom we spent several days while there nearly two years ago.  Bill, that’s the tree guy’s name, noticed it and said, “I like your cross.”  I thanked him and told him where and from whom it came.

“Let me tell you why I told you I like it,” he said.  And thereby hangs a tale?  You be the judge.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

We were standing at the end of my driveway where he had parked his car while he took a look at the work I needed him to do.  He was just about to go after giving me his estimate for the work.

“I signed up for a course in Christian leadership not long ago,” he said.  “Not for any of the obvious reasons,” he continued, looking at me with a kind of apologetic half smile, as if he suspected I might start thinking of him as a kind of street corner preacher.  I must admit that I wouldn’t be writing that if the thought didn’t flit across my mind; just another guy who’s going to start up his own church in the former barbershop or filling station across from the fire house.

I smiled back at him and nodded, mumbling something like, “Gee, that’s good.”  It’s one of my better replies to folks who tell me they’ve signed up for a course in Christian Leadership or Do It Yourself Diamond Mining.

“I don’t know, ” he went on, while I wondered how long he would.  “I wanted to know more about Jesus.  Do you know?”  It was here that I realized I had to make a decision.  I had to find a way to get away, or I had to consider that this fellow I had known for only a few minutes was serious about something most people would run the hell away from.  Call me crazy, I chose the path less traveled and decided he was serious.

“I think I know what you’re talking about, ” I answered.  Think?  Heck, I knew exactly what he was talking about.  I’ve been in the same boat for not a few years, most of the time paddling in circles, some of the time becalmed and every once in a while moving in what I hope is the right direction.

“Sometime,” he told me, “Sometimes I get these emotions, these feelings that fill me up…”  “As if you would bust wide open,” I interrupted.  “Yeah, but I wouldn’t mind,” he continued, his hands making a gesture of trying to grab hold of something, “the feeling always leaves me in tears.  And I know it’s God, or I believe it is.  I tell my wife and she says that’s what is happening.”

There was no interrupting him, now.

“The other night I was up in bed.  I have a TV on a stand and I was watching  the game.  There’s a big crucifix on the wall over my bed.  I could see the crucifix in the mirror behind the TV.  I was in bed just looking at the crucifix for a long time and I said, ‘I love you Jesus.’  The next thing I know I was crying.  Sometimes this happens to me for no reason, these feelings build up and build up inside of me.  That’s why I started taking this course.  I want to get to know Jesus more.  To get closer to Him.”

I hesitated for a moment and said, ” I remember reading about a Dominican named Meister Eckhart who talked about heaven being a kind of growing into God, getting to know more and more about Him and loving Him more and more for eternity and never knowing and loving Him completely.”

He seemed to like that idea.  “Yes,” he said telling me more about his experiences.  “I understand that.  It’s what I want to do.”

“And, we can start here,” I said.  He smiled broadly and answered, “That’s what I want to do.”  I took off my glasses and wiped my eyes as we shook hands.  He told me he’d give me a call when he had some time in his schedule to come by and take down my trees.

Advertisements

Responses

  1. “Behold! Behold! the wood of the Cross, on which hung our Redeemer!
    oh come, let us
    Adore….”

    i don’t know how you can be alive and not love trees.

    so, peter, once again, Heaven came down to earth, in your driveway of all places! and you met a brother sojourner.
    blessings to his heart and yours.

    i love reading your posts.

    • Thank you, Debby. I found myself standing in the street watching him and his wife (she was in the car waiting for him to finish with me) drive away over th hill and thinking what a lucky fellow I am to have moments of grace like this fall on me. I walked into the house saying a prayer of thanks.

  2. Poignant–THAT IS THE 1ST WORD I THOUGHT OF ABOUT BILL’S STORY. THEN, JOYOUS. WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO HIM HAS HAPPENED TO ME SINCE I RETIRED 2 YEARS AGO. THE FEELING HE DESCRIBED SWEEPS OVER ME AS WELL. SIGH TEMPESTS COME ON UNBIDDEN. WAVES OF GRATITUDE BREAK OVER HEART AND SOUL. I FEEL UNHINGED FROM THE DAILY ROUNDS OF LIVING. A TIMID HAPPINESS EMERGES FOR A WHILE. I WISH IT WOULD LAST AND BE STRONGER, FIRMER. PERHAPS ONE DAY IT WILL.JFM

    • Well, well. Dr. Jim I am smiling. I think you just wrote a poem about your experiences…at least a rhyme.

  3. oh my.. oh my … yes

    • Thank you, Alys

  4. all i can say is, i love you Peter, and i am so grateful you are in my life. 🙂

    • Thank you, Joan. I love you, too, and all you little and not so little ones.

  5. I have been mulling over the new barrenness of our churches – the loss of our statues, pictures, candles to light in front of a statue of a saint, of the loss of poor-boxes – and of the loss of our societies and sodalities and of the reduction of Holy Days of Obligation because “they don’t fit into our suburban schedules”. Yet we hear of the harassed Soccer Moms, rushing from one activity to another.
    There is said to be a reduction in the number of vocations to the priesthood and of nuns. Might this not be because we have washed our religion of all daily piety? That we are ashamed of our religion? And that we no longer stand up to the indoctrination inflicted on boys and girls in colleges, until they think the same and sound the same. Are not the Occupy movements a symbol of this, of the barrenness of the world after school? The Occupiers cry aloud but they have no suggestions to offer. It is all college-learned slogans and no thought.


Categories

%d bloggers like this: