A TREE gives glory to God by being a tree. For in being what God means it to be it is obeying Him. It “consents,” so to speak, to His creative love. It is expressing an idea which is in God and which is not distinct from the essence of God, and therefore a tree imitates God by being a tree.
The more a tree is like itself, the more it is like Him. If it tried to be like something else which it was never intended to be, it would be less like God and therefore it would give Him less glory. (Thomas Merton, “New Seeds of Contemplation”)
Does a tree ever want to be something else? Does a tree try to be something else? Is a tree confused into believing it is something else?
Trees don’t think, I get it. Still when you consider such a ridiculous line of reasoning, what do you see? Do you see any possibility that a tree is something else than a tree? What if the tree tried to be a squirrel or a rabbit? What if the tree tried to be grass ? Maybe the tree could be a giraffe, they are tall. If the tree tried to be any of those things what would happen?
If the tree tried to run with the squirrels it would fail and be frustrated. If the tree tried to climb itself like a squirrel it wouldn’t work and be very confusing. If the tree tried to be grass it would really stand out from the rest of the grass. If the tree wanted to be giraffe, it would try to eat its own leaves and fail miserably. The tree would only be happy and whole as a tree. If the tree tried to be something else it would eventually discover it was a tree. There might be years and years of frustration involved but at the end the tree is just a tree. Like Merton said the tree embraces its own identity when it consents to being a tree.
So why do humans try to be something other than humans?
Are you confused?
Humans are made in God’s image. Humans are children of God. Humans are divinely human and humanly divine. A true human is a god-man like Jesus. A true human does not try to be something other than a divine god-man. A human is a manifestation of God on the earth. A human is a projection of God on the earth. A human is one with God and in union with God and is God as a human.
We are all an extension of the divine in this reality. We are connected to a greater divine reality just beyond our ability to see that reality. We are in communion with the infinite while processing in the finite. In our innermost being we are God’s expression as us. We are oneness. We are unity.
We are what God would be if He could be us. We are what God choses to be as us. We are Him learning about Himself. We are His eyes to see Himself. We are His contemplative moment waiting to happen. We are how He loves Himself. We are how He knows Himself. We are the vessels His light shines through. We are the eyes that see His creation and give it life in our existence.
Rocks are hard because we have soft hands. Blue is blue because we see it as blue. Warm is warm because we are 98.6 deg F. Salty is salty because we have a tongue. Joy is joy because we can know Joy. Love is love because we are an expression of love. I could go on and on. Have I lost you?
Think about it for a moment, really let it soak it. We are human and Jesus showed us what it is like to be human. We are mysteriously one with our creator and what He looks like in the mirror. Then why do we insist on being something else?
The problem is categories and reason and logic that feeds the judgment mechanism of a selfish being. We were made for love. We were made for acceptance. Why? We are love. We are acceptance. We are oneness. We exist for and of relationship. So when we think we are apart from those things, we become selfish. That is what it looks like when we try to be something we aren’t.
It begins with a lie of separation. When we think we are automatons, we think we are alone. We are a tree that thinks it is a squirrel. That isn’t possible but we pursue the lie anyway. We accept the deception as fact and move forward in the fallacy of autonomy. Then we judge our surroundings and our circumstance to modify our behavior to achieve a desired result. This is when the false Lena is born. Our broken and separated Judy is the judge and this false Lena is what comes from that lie of separation.
As we walk about this planet as false people, as humans trying to be something they are not, we judge and determine and try and try and get more and more frustrated. Why? We can’t control our environment, so we create a mythology of a deity that is manipulating our environment based on our performance. This way we feel a sense of control returning. It is false and pretend and not human, but we fully engage in the endeavor. We are desperate. We are lost. We are acting like we are not human.
When we see love, it sparks something inside us. The tree acting like a rabbit sees its leaves and bark and wonders for a moment if maybe there is something other than being a rabbit. When we are loved the spark becomes a flame. Now we are conflicted and need resolution. We don’t seem to be ourselves. When we know we are loved by the deity that we blamed for our circumstance, we begin to see that deity as something other than an imagined perfect rabbit. We begin to see the divine tree. We begin to see ourselves.
All the frustration of trying to be something other than human leads us to true humanity. The humiliation of trying to be something other than divinely human leads us to the divine. Trying over and over to live a false life apart from unqualified love brings us into the arms of Love Himself. We are being transformed back into who we have always been. We awake from the dream of a tree trying to be a giraffe. We see Him in us. We know our acceptance and assurance and identity as a child of God.
Does this sound strange to you? Jesus told this story. It was the story of the prodigal son which is mislabeled and should be the story of the good Father. This good Father knew His son thought he was something he was not. He gave him money to let him try to be the thing he was not. In the end the son realized he was a son. The son was in the pig pen and found his identity in his Father.
Don’t let anyone deceive you into thinking you are something you are not. Don’t let the religion of fallen fruit tell you that you are not worthy or evil at the root of you. No, you are divine at the root of you. You are the tree not the rabbit. Discovering this truth is your journey. Knowing what it is to be a human is your joy. Seeing yourself as the humanly divine is the divine seeing Himself.
Embrace your identity. Embrace the divine love that made you who you are. Find the timeless life of knowing the creator that made you to be you. He didn’t make a mistake. Go ahead and consent to His creative love.