I was walking through the garden the other day, and I saw This Old Tree. For some reason it caught my eye, and I thought Now that’s an interesting picture. I’m quite certain this old tree started from a little seed planted in the fertile soil next to the Mount of Olives right outside of Jerusalem, and biologists have predicted its age to be around 2100 years old.
I started to imagine the beginning of life for This Old Tree. It had to fight its way out of the hard shell of the Olive seed to poke its first growth toward the warming of the sun rising in the east. It was nurtured by the water from the ground and the rain from the sky, growing a little taller, a little stronger, every single day.
I thought to myself, Can you imagine if This Old Tree could Talk? Oh the stories it must have to tell.
This Old Tree happens to be located in a special garden called the Gethsemane, which means The Place of the Press. Olive farmers throughout history would bring their harvests to this garden to put them in the Co-op’s olive press and produce olive oil to sell at the market.
Each day the sun would rise, the rain would fall, and the farmer’s would tend to its needs. They waited for it to produce fruit, but in the meantime they brought fruit from other trees to be pressed. It didn’t have much choice other to grow tall and strong in response to its environment, and someday it would grow and mature to a place of production too.
Some people might look at the tree and think WOW, what an ugly plant. But to me…this tree represents years and years of struggle becoming something uniquely beautiful in its own right.
Imagine on a day nearly 2000 years ago, a group of travelers stopped to pray and meditate in this very garden. One of these would be farmers would cry, “Not my will by yours be done.” And this old tree (probably) stood strong as a witness for the pain and agony much of the world would talk about for the rest of eternity.
As I stand in front of this old tree today, I feel my own pain being united with the pain of the one who stood here 2000 years ago. The pain of being mis-understood. The pain of rejection. The pain of alone-ness. And when I look at this old tree, it almost whispers a feeling back to me…It’s going to be ok. Trust me. From the moment I came into existence, my life has witnessed pain, but on THAT day God crouched down right here and pleaded for not only his own life but the life of the whole world.
It will be a long time before the image of This Old Tree escapes my mind’s eye. Like an old friend who knows the struggle, This Old Tree reached out and shared a small part of its story, And I’m forever Grateful.