by Dianne Neal Matthews
My husband and I always thought we would be living on a few acres in the country by the time we reached the end of our sixties. Instead, we live in a subdivision just a couple of miles away from an industrial area filled with plants, metal structures, and smokestacks. The house we bought doesn’t have a single tree in the yard; we didn’t plant any since we knew we’d be moving again in a few years. That’s why I appreciated the short strip of mature trees along each side of our neighborhood’s main entrance.
Whenever I walked down the sidewalk there, I could pretend I was in the woods—for a few minutes at least. Besides beauty, the trees provided cooling shade, the sound of birds singing along with crickets and frogs expressing themselves, and occasionally the sight of a bunny hopping out for a peek. I counted those trees a real blessing.
Then one weekend my husband and I returned from a trip to find both strips of trees bulldozed. Nothing but huge clumps of dirt with tree roots sticking out. It hurt me to look at the mess. For the next few years, I avoided walking in that direction. Until a couple of weeks ago.
Native grasses and autumn wildflowers had sprung up to cover the broken and scarred ground. Shades of yellow and gold mixed with touches of purple, pink, and lavender. Even a sprinkling of young trees that I had failed to notice. My walk took longer that morning because I kept taking pictures of the new beauty that God had sent to bless those who paid attention.
Note to self: He has made everything beautiful in its time. Ecclesiastes 3:11 (ESB)
Dianne Neal Matthews is a freelance writer and the author of four daily devotional books including The One Year Women of the Bible and Designed for Devotion, which won a 2013 Selah Award. She also writes for websites and blogs, contributes to compilations (including Guideposts’ Mornings with Jesus), and teaches at writers’ conferences. To learn more, visit www.DianneNealMatthews.com or connect with Dianne through her author page on Facebook.