Branch Office

When you lose something—or someone —important, God doesn’t expect you to ignore the pain with a religious smile painted on your face. For whatever may be going on, it’s a process that’s deeper and more complex than just taking clinical steps from denial to acceptance. It’s a journey with him. For me, that journey begins with choosing to see what I do have, and not letting myself get sucked into the black hole of focusing on what I don’t.

Always, always, the first thing I see is Jesus. Just knowing he’s there keeps me from spiraling in.

That probably sounds hokey. But it’s real for me. He’s real. Even when I was a kid, when something difficult happened, I’d climb my favorite tree to a comfortable seat near the top that couldn’t be seen from below. I could breathe there. And I could hear him. We’d have long talks, until I was able to see more than just the hills around us. 

That tree was cut down years ago, but it’s still with me. I’m writing this from there. This morning I’m sitting in it with Jesus, thanking him for all the good things in my life, and making room for more as we process the present pain together. This tree is mine, but you’re welcome to break off a branch and grow your own if you’d like.

“Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile” (Mark 6:31).

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