At Trestle Park on Saturday we dedicated a red maple tree in memory of a young man who died in January. His mother asked me to come.
I read from the Psalms, ‘The Lord is your shade at your right hand.’ God shelters us like a tree. I offered brief words of comfort and a prayer of dedication. Worried beforehand about what to say, I remembered Lincoln’s words at Gettysburg, ‘The world will little note nor long remember what we say here.’ This turned out not to be true for Lincoln, but in my case it was comforting to know it didn’t matter what I said, only that I said something. After the prayer we hung strings of beads on the tree. A red maple can live for a hundred years. This one will stand and offer shade long after I have left the scene.
Sunday afternoon I drove to Bliss Yoga for an hour and fifteen minute session. Yoga, like walking, has become necessary to my sense of calm and well-being. Our yoga poses included a scared cat, a stargazer, a sleeping swan, and my favorite, a peaceful warrior. As usual, we ended in Shavasana, the Corpse Pose, lying on our backs on the firm earth, eyes closed and palms open to the sky. Yoga is like life: we go through a series of poses in our years, and we all end our days in Shavasana.
I have been thinking on John the Baptist’s comment, comparing himself to Jesus. ‘He must become greater, and I must become less.’ John’s disciples had come to him, alarmed that Jesus’ ministry was growing and John’s was shrinking. But John wasn’t hung up on numbers. Years of solitude and silence in the desert had taught him that all he needed was God. Having fulfilled his purpose in pointing to Jesus, he was content to diminish. He had gone through his poses and could now move toward Shavasana.
This week I will move through my poses. I will point to Jesus and think less about numbers. And I will rest in the Lord’s shade as I move closer to Shavasana.