In my last Sunday school class of the year, we finished up a series on the meaning of life. Our psychology guru teacher had us take 10 minutes and think about our death. “What would you do if you had 1 month to live?”
My first thought was, buy 5 airline tickets to Washington State and spend the last month of my life in the place I love most. I’ll send letters back to other loved ones.
My second thought was, Nah, heaven will be better that WA. I’d better stay here and help my family make good memories in this place. It will help them as time marches on. I’d still write letters, catch up on photo books, make that quilt I’ve been talking about for years and just keep doing what I’m doing. (Enter 2016 resolutions)
My final thought was, I’d plant trees.
Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. -Martin Luther
We all want our lives to matter and they do all matter. I want the kind of influence on those around me that causes them to be stronger and care for others. If all somebody said at my funeral was, “I felt loved by her.” Then I would call my life a success. The week following that Sunday school class, I was having a conversation with a friend. He was talking about what we do for advent and said, “You’re planting good trees.” (Then he got an excited earful in response!)
I have two dreams right now. One is very far out of reach. I really don’t know that it will ever happen. The door is slowly closing on it. I don’t have what it takes. I went to a secret place today, all by myself, and planted a tree. I had to remove a thorn bush , but all growth and grace follows The Thorns. I prayed and asked God to give me the faith to hold onto this dream. I prayed even harder that He would give me the wisdom to accept His no and let go, if that is His answer. The other dream is possible. It just requires bravery. The vision for it came clearly to me this past week. I know that I have what it takes, but it still requires a leap of faith. I love the outdoors and I’m gifted in working with and teaching kids. For the longest time, I’ve wanted to pull these two together. I’ve taught outdoor ed. classes and led hikes. I loved it.
This is what I want to do.
Over the weekend someone asked how they could send their kid to the school of Malissa? (I thought it was hilarious!) This is what I really want though. To run and outdoor education program for kids. So, I have a small beginning in place. (Shameless plug: www.livingtreeadventures.com)
#5: The outdoors offer endless opportunity to learn.
#4: Being able to set up camp, start a fire, navigate and survive all build your confidence for anything in this world!
#3: There’s a “no device” rule. So, your kid will learn to make eye contact and have an actual conversation. Even more, they will learn teamwork.
#2: Two days in the wilderness is like a week in the real world! This time outdoors provides big opportunity for growth, calmness and connection.
#1: I already love your kid. I want nothing but for them to see how amazing they are. To see their strengths and build on those. To understand their weakness and be willing to rely on others. For them to be loved for all of it & to simply have the opportunity.
God knows who has read any of our advent adventures this year. Whoever you are, we truly hope you have been encouraged to spread love to those you encounter on your daily journey. There are many things we never posted and many we didn’t get to do, but there are 341 non-advent days out there.
While you may not get to see those moments of loving others, we are always trying to Love God & Whoever He Puts In Front Of Us.
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and whoever captures souls is wise. -Proverbs 11:30