Psalm 1:1a,3a – A blessed man…is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season… (my paraphrase)
I’ve been called many things. Chris. Christopher. Dad. “Hey you!” Mister. Husband. Scrub. Son. Sweetie. Kid. Boy. Punk. Friend. Jerk. Stupid. There are other special monikers I will not reveal, and some crude ones I’d like to forget.
Of all the things I’ve been called, there’s one I haven’t – but want to be. It’s a good name, but uncommon. Perhaps even weird. And to be honest, if you were to call me this name I’d be more than a little surprised and a tad bit embarrassed. But I’m OK with that.
You’ve read this far, so I’ll end the suspense. A name I would like to be called – a name I’m striving to grow into – is “fruit tree.” Yes, really.
My longing for this arboreal handle comes from Psalm 1. This Psalm touches the soul of my manhood in delicately invasive ways. Its imagery is vivid. It draws me outside myself and into a grander view. The metaphor of a tree is especially intriguing to me. Why a tree?
Well, my thoughts pour out like this: all trees start from seeds but grow with time, care and nourishment. Trees are strong, tall, majestic, stately, reliable. They withstand wind and storms. Trees offer shade, comfort, rest, and protection. They provide a place for gathering, talking, pondering, laughing, crying and loving. A place for remembering and making memories. Trees are useful – even in death.
The psalmist expands his metaphor beyond just any old tree. The blessed man is like a fruit tree. Fruit is tangible evidence of health and vitality. A sign of life. Something to be enjoyed. Fruit nourishes, replenishes, sustains and assists growth. It’s pleasant, tasty and desirable. Fruit is a seasonal offering packed with the energies of patience and persistence. It’s valuable and life-giving. Fruit bears the seeds of reproduction.
I treasure scriptural metaphors like the tree. They are deep oceans that invite exploration over and over again. Many times have I pondered this Psalm and the quality of my tree-likeness. I’m humbled and challenged when considering the quality of my fruit.
Call me what you will. My prayer and desire is that by God’s grace I will be called “fruit tree.”