Oaks, Acorns, and My Friend Silviaposted on October 4th, 2012 / by Pam Mueller / 8 Comments
When I was a child, our side yard used to fill with hundreds of acorns every Fall. They fell from a tall, old oak tree in our neighbor’s yard. The trunk was so wide that I couldn’t fit my arms all the way around it in a hug. The tree stood taller than our two-story house. Raking leaves from that tree was a chore that the whole family shared. My brother and I loved to rake the leaves into a big pile, then run and jump right into the middle of the pile, undoing half our work so that we could rake them again. I still remember the musty, earthy smell of those leaves. I also loved the sound and the feel of the acorns crunching under my feet.
I used to like to peel apart the acorns, layer by layer. First the knobby little cap that wrapped the top part of the acorn and originally attached it to the tree. A little tear, and the acorn would pop right out. The smooth acorn shell was a little harder to crack. I could step on it on the sidewalk or smash it with a rock. Once I think I even cracked it open with my teeth. Yuck!
Once open, a little peeling would reveal a soft nut inside. Not crunchy like a peanut, but a little squishy. If I were a boy, I guess I would have used it to start an acorn war, but I just liked discovering the treasure inside.
A little acorn from a stately oak. A mighty oak from a little acorn. What a wonder. It speaks of something more than mere chance in Creation. Our Creator God specifically designed this reproductive cycle, and it has carried on for longer than I know, with or without the help of humanity.
An acorn is a seed. The purpose of the acorn is to reproduce and create a new oak tree. The acorn goes through a germination process that eventually makes it into a tree.
I’m fascinated by seeds. So much in the natural world is reproduced by a seed, or something that functions in much the same way as a seed. Seeds have within them the ability to reproduce when they are placed in the right conditions. Seeds often don’t look like the thing that they will become. But they are not self-existent—they came from a plant or an organism that looks similar to what will be reproduced.
I’m also fascinated by the concept of seeds in the spiritual world. Our prayers are like seeds: when planted into a difficult situation and watered by the word of God, then nourished by love and humility, they produce fruit in that tough place.
Our words are like seeds. When we speak honor and value and love towards someone, and we water that with our actions of serving them, a germination process takes place in their hearts to produce the fruits of honor and value and love . Yes, that person has a choice on how they will till the conditions of the soil of their heart, so we are not responsible to tend the fruit in someone else’s life. But we do have the privilege of being seed planters.
Our acts of kindness are like seeds. My friend Silvia recently brought dinner to my house. I didn’t have a baby or surgery or a death in the family, thank you, Lord! (I love babies, don’t get me wrong, it’s just that I’ve already produced my fruit in that arena.) She brought the meal because I have a big work deadline looming, and she wanted to lighten my load. Her kindness has produced all kinds of fruit in my life.
It produced the fruit of friendship. It reminded me of how much I love her and appreciate her. She is a gift in my life. The night after Silvia brought dinner, we had friends in town from the Philippines, with just one night to spend time with them. (We love you Matthew and Hailey!) Yes, I really did it; I took the leftovers from Silvia’s meal, put it together with our favorite carry-out pizza, and served dinner to Matthew and Hailey.
Now before you turn me in to the hospitality police, think about it. In a week where I had only cooked once because of my work schedule, Silvia’s kindness fed us twice and allowed us to welcome friends into our home right in the middle of a really full month. Yes, we could have gone out, but staying at home allowed for a longer, more relaxed visit. And, I have to add, Silvia is a great cook, so her leftovers are fabulous!
Silvia’s kindness also produced the fruit of love in me. I know she loves me because of how she served us. (And to you other friends who have brought me meals in the past, thank you! This is for you also.) But her meal also spoke to me about God’s love. In this month where I don’t really know how I will get it all done, God is speaking to me through her act of kindness. He is saying, “I see you. I’m with you in this. I’m sending you help that you can’t even see coming. Don’t worry. Just follow me. Give your best, and trust Me for the rest.”
Another fascinating thing about acorns is that they are not only seeds, they are food. This is true of other types of seeds as well. Have you ever seen a squirrel with its jaws full of acorns? It’s a funny sight. The squirrels and other animals hide the acorns so they can have food all winter long.
Our prayers, our words, our acts of kindness feed people. In Silvia’s case, she literally fed us, and some people she has never met. We feed people every day in many ways. We feed their dreams, their hearts, their minds, their sense of well-being, their health, their understanding of who they are. We feed their spirits when we show them the love of God.
There is so much potential in what we plant into people’s lives, and what we feed them. On the flip side, we can also tear people down if we aren’t careful. We can discourage them with our words or cause them to wither when we respond in anger or indifference instead of kindness. I want to be intentional about planting good, healthy seeds and offer life-giving food to other people.
Now if you will excuse me, I need to text my friend who just had foot surgery. I won’t be taking her a home-cooked meal this week, but I can show her that I’m thinking about her.