I share this poem I wrote many years ago, which was published in a local paper. The poem tells of a time in my past where I was vulnerable and lost. I wrote it at a time after God had brought me healing from a past of abuse. The day was rainy, clouds hung heavy in the sky as I sat in my car on my lunch hour and went back into that dark place. And this poem came from that trip back in time. Today I have found a close relationship with Jesus and there is a place of calm and peace in my soul. No room for hatred. When I read these words, I feel sad for the woman I used to be. I feel her pain and need for healing. I feel her sadness. Life is still an ongoing struggle of ups and downs, but the downs aren’t crushing any longer. I KNOW everything is going to be all right because I trust He will provide and take care of me. He has proven I can trust Him. I can’t really explain this difference. It is just there. Years of God turning the bad into good for even a woman like me. A sinner. A woman who came from a past of abuse into a loving, stable relationship. A woman truly blessed by God!
“Seasons of the Tree”
Alone I walk, through the awakening dawn,
Footsteps echoing in the silence of my heart.
Wondering why I’m so lonely and sad,
Tears cleansing my cheeks…when did they start?
I sit upon the cool, damp earth…
Leaves forming a musky pillow, beneath the tree.
I rest my head upon her sturdy trunk
And wish her mighty strength belonged to me.
Thoughts are muddled, screaming through my mind
Tormenting my soul, and bending my will.
Black hatred rushes adrenalin through my limbs.
My body soon is heaving with sobs, unable to still.
Much later, drained and cleansed,
My eyes once more gaze upon the tree;
And I realize how much strength there is…
In the world, the tree…and me.
How likened is the complex, human form
To the tree, standing silent, and still.
–Until nature’s forces take control
And change context against our will.
Spring showers, quiet air, and silence.
Time to raise our weary form,
Waiting for the rainbow sure to come,
Not a thought for the growing storm.
Sunny days, laughing children, scurrying squirrels,
Lifting our branches and reaching for the sky!
Growing and spreading, providing shelter…
How happy we are, the tree and I.
Soon the storm rages, blowing branches to and fro,
Dipping and bending our bodies to the ground,
Breaking our spirit, drenching our souls,
Crippling our thoughts with its deafening sound.
How quickly it abates! Once more the sun
Threads fingers of gold through autumn leaves.
We prepare our hearts for winter’s cold,
Stretching our limbs to the cool, night breeze.
We sleep and mend our broken minds,
Letting winter’s soft blanket weave her cocoon.
We bask in the silence, we need the rest,
For the spring will come…perhaps too soon.
So like the tree, is the human form.
Tears cleanse as spring showers in May.
We bend and change while currents of time
Sometimes force us to follow their way.
I lift my limbs to dry my eyes,
My soul cleansed of hatred, bitter and cold.
I raise my trunk and walk once more
Feeling lonely, sad…and old.
For like the tree, my years do show.
The storms have left their mark.
I look to the sun and draw strength for the day.
…I will rest tonight…in the dark.
Copyright, 1986, Carol Ann Erhardt
Published in Woman’s Voice of Columbus, November 1986