Purple Tree Repost
I’m reposting a blog from last March in honor of a friend, Jeff Marvin, who died suddenly on March 21, 2013, at age 55. At the funeral today, the pastor said someone donated two Jacaranda trees in Jeff’s memory. One will be planted at his home and the other will find a spot on the church’s property. When I heard about Jeff’s love of this tree, I thought of the blog I posted last year about a beautiful purple tree I pass on my way to work.
I’m not sure of the tree’s significance to him and his wife, Andrea, but his life is embodied in my blog. Jeff’s life stood out with simple beauty, humility, and faithfulness.
He bloomed wherever he was planted and touched many lives, much like the one in Psalm 1. I learned today that Jeff was active in the Celebrate Recovery ministry at his church, among others, because he cared about helping people with their problems. He loved without hesitation or expectation. He loved out of an abundance of the Father’s love.
The purple tree I pass each day during my spring commute will hold new meaning for me. When I see its brilliant blossoms reaching heavenward, I will think of Jeff and know I was privileged to call him “friend.”
I love spring time when flowers bloom and trees bear new leaves wih varying shades of green. Some show off their splendor with dazzling blossoms of purple, yellow, and red.
My commute to work takes me on three interstate highways, and I know the houses, yard toys, billboards, and buildings by heart. If I didn’t know which numbered road I was on (I-75, I-4, and I-275), I could identify my surroundings by the familiar landmarks. It’s a boring route until spring arrives.
I pass a purple tree every day. I look for it, particularly in the afternoon, since it is on my side of the highway so I get a closer view. This tree is the bright spot in my daily travels. What makes it special?
It stands out in a sea of green foliage. It draws my attention because it’s different from the others.
The tree represents what my life should be: appealing, different from the rest, inviting. Not because of who I am but Whose I am.
How does this relate to families and addiction? We can be someone’s “purple tree” in an field of naysayers. Our lives can reflect love and compassion for the addict and his/her family. People who don’t have an addict in their lives usually don’t understand the difficulty of living with one. They may think we are weak for tolerating our addicts. They often pass judgments on us without knowing the facts. So, when a hurting parent stumbles upon someone who has walked the walk, they stand out and are noticed—and appreciated.
The challenge for each of us “purple trees” is to spread our branches and reach out to those we see struggling with their addict, who feel overwhelmed and hopeless, or grieving the loss of a loved one to this dreadful disease called addiction. Offer them the shade of your friendship, the gentleness of a knowing touch.
Bloom where you are planted.
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