The Author

If You'll Stop Talking

I mentioned in a sermon recently that one of the trees in our backyard is sick. This is no ordinary tree, but one that Ellen and I had purchased a couple of years ago as an anniversary present to each other. A bur oak, it had been touted as a great tree for this part of the world – hardy, disease-resistant, long-lived. We had even driven up to a tree farm north of Frisco to choose it from all the other trees on the farm. We were dismayed when this previously healthy tree with nice green leaves suddenly began to drop them by the droves. In a matter of days, only a few sickly ones were still holding on.

We called a tree doctor and both of us met her at the house. Her diagnosis was that it was heat stress from the previous summer, the one that had placed all of Texas in drought. Because it had made the tree vulnerable to disease, it needed treatment. Chances of survival were 50/50. If we could encourage the buds that were still green, it had a chance. I was feeling a little guilty because watering the tree was my responsibility. I thought I had done a good job, but maybe not. We signed up for the treatment.

A crew showed up late on a Saturday afternoon. They snaked a long hose attached to a tank in the back of the pickup across the yard. Because the tree doc had noticed that the other trees needed some help, we had agreed to have them all sprayed. For well over an hour, they sprayed, injected, and laid hands on our shade.

Early on in the process, I wandered the yard with the crew chief. He pointed out all the things that were wrong with the trees: fire blight, leaf scald, anthracnose, even some kind of beetle that was enjoying a hearty meal at our expense. “Wow,” I said. “All this because I may not have put enough water on one tree?” “Nah. Water’s not the only problem. Drought, a mild winter that didn’t kill the bugs, stuff blowin’ through the air. Water’s not going to cure all those problems.”

I wanted to know if the bur oak would survive. He grinned at me and said, “If you’ll stop talking and let me do my job, it will.” I went in the house, chastened and relieved. Chastened that there was a lot more wrong than I knew or could do anything about. Relieved that there was someone at work who not only knew the problems, but also knew how to fix them.

The tree is beginning to show some new life. It has some to go before it’s completely well, but it’s safe to say that it is no longer sick. There may be some more treatments before all is said and done.That’s okay; I know what that’s like. After all, God’s not through with me yet either. I’m just glad He knows what He is doing. Now if I’ll just be quiet and let Him do it.