I was enthralled with the trees. I remember sitting in the center of the campus with my Peer Mentoring Initiative Leaders and some fellow freshmen, on a picnic blanket. I stared up at those trees. I wrote poems about them… (My poems, at the time, were rudimentary, new and just beginning to develop. They were the bare-boned framework of something lyrical. I’m still not quite a poet, yet, but I’ll get there someday.)
All was beautiful. All was anew. That was four school-years ago. My high school’s campus is still beautiful to me, but in refreshed ways that reveal themselves to me all the time.
At the end of my Freshman year, the magnolias bloomed. They bloom every year, but I distinctly remember that year that I wanted to touch one. I had never seen a Magnolia flower up close before. I’m not sure why, exactly, but I wanted my fingertips against the petals. The Magnolia flower symbolizes strength to me, and I suppose that maybe I wanted that “strength” tangible in my hands. I wanted to hold my inner strength like a fragile blossom.
I wanted to make sure that my strength was living and pulsing through me… Even if the petals were delicate, wilting under my touch, the core was alive. Even when summer arrived and overtook my flower with heat, the core was alive. Even when deadness bled through the white, unadulterated petals… the core was alive.
It turns out that I only have the strength of those petals. My strength is a Magnolia, but my God is the tree. Blossoms have seasons, but God is everlasting. God is the roots. God is the core.
God is the supplier of life… But He’s also the supplier of strength. He is strength.
The tree still stands, four school-years later. I’ve walked past it five days a week, for the past four years. Sometimes I notice it, sometimes its invisible to me in the hustle and bustle. But every spring it’s fruitful with blooms, and there’s a part of me still yearning for that Freshman girl who longed to touch one. I miss her tenacity. I miss her child-like wonder…
I hope there’s a remnant of her still remaining in me.
The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. Psalms 18:2