There Really is a Tree and the Soul Really Makes a Sound

Son of God who floods the world,

And my heart,

With beauty.

 

There really is a tree.

 

I read Tolkien’s words and this short story,

“Leaf by Niggle,”

And I’m struck straight through.

 

It’s like someone reached inside my chest,

And touched my rawest heart,

And stirred the embers,

And stoked the flames,

Miles high.

 

There really is a tree. 

And what I see and feel in my mind’s eye,

It really lives.

 

And to think that one day,

I will actually touch the substance,

Of that which I only know in feeling,

And shape,

And shadow here,

It comforts me,

And gives my life meaning.

 

To hear and to know,

That there really is a tree,

Even if no one else,

Really sees it right now.

 

I see.

In part.

And I know.

In part.

 

Yet I can’t stop looking,

And I can’t stop seeing,

And I can’t stop wanting,

More.

 

I’m enthralled by the vision.

I’m captivated and compelled by the beauty,

And the truth,

And the depth,

Of what I see.

 

I am a soul set on fire.

Yet in my frailty,

All I can paint,

Are feeble leaves.

 

And the colors and shapes that I paint,

Are one-dimensional and dull,

Compared to the majesty,

And the depth,

And the glory,

Of who You are.

Of what I see.

 

And I stumble over my words,

And my tongue grows thick in my mouth,

And all my failures and frailties,

Limit and mar and impede the painting.

 

And I paint things,

That no one wants to see.

And I write things,

That no one wants to read.

 

Because they don’t see the tree in my words.

 

And I wonder if my paltry life,

And the dim little painting,

Of the wonderful world I see,

Will entice any,

To worship.

 

They want to use my canvas for more practical things,

Like repairing roof damage.

And my life feels like so much blood spilt on a canvas,

Discarded as refuse,

And not art.

 

Or patronized and put in a gallery as pretty,

But substance-less.

 

And I wonder,

Have I even yet painted one leaf?

Is there yet even the vaguest of images,

Splashed on a canvas?

Does the horizon appear,

At all?

 

And my life is the canvas,

As much as the page,

And what does it read,

I wonder?

 

Do the bloodstains show through?

Where I’ve bled and fought,

Where You’ve wrestled victory in my soul.

Do the bloodstains show?

 

And the joy,

Does it show?

All the colors that splash across my soul,

When I thrill at You,

When my mind fixes and focuses on You,

And I can’t stop seeing You everywhere,

And marveling,

And worshiping.

 

Does the joy show?

 

If you could paint the joy,

I imagine it would look like the most brilliant of sunsets.

This dancing and bursting of color.

These pinks and purples and oranges and blues,

Just exploding and saturating the sky of my soul,

With such a ferocity,

That it blinds the eyes and burns the skin,

Just to look at it.

 

I wish I could paint joy.

And the way I see You,

I wish I could find the right words,

That would really show.

 

That through the letters,

And the keystrokes,

And the pen marks,

The door would appear.

And people could really walk through,

And see the reality,

Behind the words.

 

O, how I ache for this!

 

Because it’s the reality,

That thrills me!

It’s the reality,

That keeps me breathing,

And chasing,

And pursuing.

 

There really is a tree.

And O, how my soul knows it!

Like a fire in my belly,

Like a consuming in my soul,

I know it.

 

For I see You.

And You are here.

And I could almost reach out my hand,

And touch You.

 

And my soul sees and knows You,

Truer than my words can ever convey.

And it’s the reality of You,

That stirs me,

And thrills me.

It’s the reality of You that is my joy,

And my reward.

 

Yet my passion,

Is to know You.

And the fire flows out of my soul,

Through my fingers.

And I ache to make beauty with my words,

That will somehow even just reflect the tiniest glimpse,

Of the real and Living God.

 

So I splash beauty on canvas,

And I bleed passion in print,

And the world turns away.

And the words fall.

And they don’t see the tree.

They don’t even see a leaf.

All they see,

Is the half-crazy painter.

 

But there really is a tree.

And I see it.

And there really is a God,

And I see Him.

 

And though my feeble self,

Distorts and mars the view,

Yet somehow I know He is shining through.

For He did not save me,

For no reason.

 

But He saved me,

To be a vessel of His glory.

And so a vessel of His glory,

I am,

And shall be.

 

And what I will be,

May not yet be revealed.

And the vision that kindles my passion,

May not yet be evident in me.

My soul may not yet be transparent enough,

For His goodness to shine through.

 

But as I paint on canvas,

You create Your painting,

On the canvas of my soul.

And that’s where the world,

One day will see.

 

The leaf.

There will be a leaf.

I know it.

I will leave this world,

With at least a leaf.

 

And when I cross that threshold,

Onto the other side,

I’ll see the tree,

And the forest,

And the garden,

And the mountains,

And beyond,

All in full.

 

And the beauty and the joy of You,

That now explodes in my soul,

I will see in brilliant color.

And the treasure of knowing You,

That I now see and hold,

As shadows in my soul,

I will hold in my hands.

Treasure gleaming and shining and vibrant.

 

Son of God,

You are stunning.

And You leave my soul breathless,

All the time.

 

I look at You,

And I am filled with wonder and awe.

You speak to me,

And I can’t sit still for the rush of it all.

 

You speak over all the areas of my life,

And there is so much grace,

Running over and through and underneath it all,

I can hardly stand it.

My heart melts in my chest.

 

You make me to feast on Your glory,

And then You show me Your glory everywhere,

And it’s almost more,

Than a soul can take.

And sometimes I think,

That I just need to think about paint drying or something,

Just to calm down the racing joy,

Of my heart.

 

Because I see the outlines,

Of the tree.

And I feel the way the leaves dance,

As the wind blows through them.

 

The leaves stir,

And my soul stirs.

My heartstrings are tied here,

And in moments of clarity,

I really see here,

And so often I feel You moving here.

And how does the soul even begin to pen such words?

 

How does the soul,

Even begin to pen,

The Living God?

You move my soul,

And I move my hands,

And my soul feels complete,

In the transaction.

 

And I leave the penning place,

With satisfaction,

And peace,

And delight,

And joy.

 

Yet when I return,

And see that there is no fruit from my labor,

That no eyes have read,

And no soul has danced,

And no other soul,

Has felt the breeze caressing the face,

I weep.

 

And I almost wish the long journey would come for me,

So that I could go and be comforted,

By seeing and dancing beneath the tree,

In the courts of the Living God.

 

Yet I am left here,

With this painful toil.

And it’s not the penning that is painful,

But the constant reminder,

That no one is listening,

And my life feels like failure.

 

Because when your passion,

And Your soul,

Are the breathing out of words,

Not being heard,

Is like not existing.

 

Sometimes I feel like I don’t exist.

 

Sometimes I feel like the tree that falls in the woods,

And none but its Creator,

Hears the sound.

 

But my life was meant to be a melody to Your name,

Sung for the ears of other human souls.

And sometimes I feel so useless in the realm of human souls.

For it seems they do not want what I have,

And I have a desperate need,

To be useful to them.

 

And I would give them my passion as a treasure,

But I fear the treasure is lost,

In all the sand.

And sometimes I think they won’t turn aside,

And look.

 

And my work is words,

And if no one reads,

Does my soul make a sound at all,

When it sings?

 

Yet You are the Son of God,

And I’m captivated by the tree that I see,

And feel.

 

And it’s not yet clear,

But it’s impressions and bits of knowledge and shades of beauty,

And the always constant tugging,

Further up,

And further in.

 

And it’s always You beckoning.

And I’m always enthralled.

And if it were a physical place on this earth,

I’d have already booked a flight,

And flown to the farthest edge,

And climbed the highest mountain,

And raced full on,

To meet You.

 

But it’s an inner calling,

And in inner tugging,

And I climb with soul,

With prayers,

With tears,

With joy,

With words,

With love.

 

I climb.

 

My hands grip the ledge,

My fingers grip the keys,

And I climb.

 

Further up,

And further in.

 

And the view keeps getting better and better.

And even the hard days seem to be getting brighter.

And my soul is growing stronger,

And there’s a light in my soul now,

That refuses to be quenched.

 

Son of God,

I feel You and I see You and I know You,

In a new and living way.

And I only see and know in part,

And pitifully small at that.

But one day I will see and know in full,

Even as I am fully seen and known.

And as You are,

So shall I be.

 

And on that day, at last,

My soul shall be a finished masterpiece.

 

And there,

In vivid and meticulous detail,

Will be painted on the canvas of my soul,

The tree in all its glory.

The vision of the Son of God.

 

And that which has tantalized my soul,

All my life,

I will then behold in fullness.

And I will then behold the substance,

Of the glory,

 Of the Living Son of God.

 

And all tears will be forgotten.

And all the leaves I’ve painted,

Will matter to me no more.

But I will at last,

Have the treasure.

 

I will at last,

Have come home,

To the fullness of the Son of God,

And all that I have wanted,

And panted after,

And chased after,

And been enthralled by,

My entire life.

~Selah~

 

(Read Tolkien’s story here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/10232245/JRR-Tolkien-Leaf-by-Niggle)

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