You know that phrase, “seeing the trees through the forest”? We referred to it often when I was a Vision Therapist. Sometimes we are so focused on the tree in front of us and the tree to our left and the tree to our right that we become overwhelmed… as a result we’ve lost perspective and we’ve gotten lost in the forest of trees. We’re no longer seeing the trees that make up the whole forest. (In Vision Therapy this is known as central focus and parafieral awareness 😉)
The holiday season for us is much like this phenamanon. We tend to just see all the trees -sadness, despair, loss, misery- and no forest -God who is sovereign over these emotions. Or we see a thick dense forest of pain and anger that will consume us and we miss the individual trees of blessing and hope.
It is difficult to explain to those who have not suffered during the holiday season how much resentment, turmoil, and bitterness is wrapped up under the cheer, lights, ornaments, and ribbon. We who are suffering are fighting our way through the forest. We’re fighting to hold on to hope. We’re fighting to make it through to the other side.
In November 2014, Heidi Lee arrived after a flawless birth at home into our cozy little world; the weather was brisk and beautiful; we were snuggled under winter blankets and she swaddled in knit; we soaked in homemade stews and quiet nursing; we anticipated her holiday debut for the first VT game of the season in Hokie attire and her first Christmas Eve service in burgundy velvet.
This past month was the two year anniversary, and we’ve been fighting through that forest of trauma and grief ever since. But after blood, sweat and tears of fighting through what we will not let consume us -anger and bitterness- we’ve come to another clearing.
We see both the trees and the forest. The trees represent the pillars of goodness God has established in our life- faith, family, friends, our home, our daughters, our endeavors; the forest represents the surrounding truth that presides- pain and suffering do occur but the Light will guide us through and sustain us even in the darkest places of the forest.
My husband and I experience bouts of “forest fever” when we are sick of the shadowed anger and bitterness and we have to fight our way out of it in order to appreciate the Light on the other side. But then we come to a clearing and we see all the more clearly…