Lights of delight in my heart

By Joan Clayton: PNT religion columnist

“No! We’re not having lights on that tree! What a waste of money. Besides that it would run up the electricity bill. We’re not doing it.”

We have lived in the same house on the same corner for 45 years. How well I remember that little cedar tree we set out so long ago.

“My name is John,” the salesman said as he shook hands with my husband. “It’s a sturdy little tree but I can’t lift it for you.” The elderly man’s years of hard work had weakened his stamina.

“That’s all right,” my husband said while lifting the five-gallon bucket in the pickup. Emmitt paid him and we were on our way. John waved at us while saying, “It’s a blessed little treeee…” In the years to come, I was to find that out.

We planted the tree in our island in front of our house for all to see.

“It’s my blessing tree, and it’s going to grow strong and tall reaching up to heaven,” I exclaimed. “We’ll put lights on it at Christmas time, and everyone driving by will be blessed.”

Emmitt smiled at my daydreaming, thinking, “Sure, right.”

I watched my tree grow through the years. Heat in the summer, freezing temperatures in winter and windstorms year around pelted my blessing tree.

I had other storms, too. Three lively little boys had accidents and illnesses but like my tree, they survived with strength and wonder.

Emmitt had five major surgeries during those years, and he, like my tree, stood tall with perseverance and stamina.

As for my tree, the fierce winds of adversity blew branches this way and that. Yet it persisted and seemed to say, “Blow, wind blow, but I will still be here when the storm is over!” I thought to myself, “If my tree can make it through the storms of life, so can I.”

Our sons grew up, and so did my tree. All of them grew strong and tall — the boys 6 feet and more, and as for the tree, over 12 feet.

“That tree is too tall anyway to put lights on.” Emmitt’s comments brought me back to reality, and I finally accepted his decision.

In my