Last year just a few days after I bought a Christmas tree for my mother, it died. Its needles dried to a frank crispness, its color turned a dull sage. It shed itself onto the carpet and transformed into Charlie Brown’s original tree.
All because I had a Scrooge attitude.
When I set out on my annual quest to buy the tree, my goal, I’m embarrassed to say, was to get it over with. I had better things to do. So I entered the Christmas tree yard, stepped toward the smaller trees and quickly chose one—it was fine.
This took very little time. However, when I erected the tree, problems began. I could not get it to stand straight and steady. And once it stood in my mother’s living room its fatal flaw emerged: at its center, a big branchless gap. I shrugged, kissed my mother goodbye and headed home.
When I returned a few days later, it had died.
I blamed the tree seller—he likely didn’t cut the base to allow the water in. But inside myself, I sensed a deeper cause at work.
So today I set out with a new matrix. It is a profound lesson I have learned over many years, but grasp yet more fully now: I perform every act in service to the Beloved.
That is now my joy, my energy, my life.
When I step into the yard, a smile stretches across my face. I smell the tangy scent of pine and feel the poignancy of this tree lot.
The men and women who work here struggle with substance abuse. They live for a time at Delancey Street, a retreat in northern New Mexico, where they trade their addiction for a new life. These are people with nothing left to lose. I appreciate their humility because I too have been brought to my knees.
I walk the rows of trees, confer with a couple also looking for a six-footer. A kid with a shaggy head of sandy colored hair helps me find a narrow tree to fit by my mother’s piano. He is quiet and focused as he chainsaws the base and straps the tree to my car.
When I arrive at my mother’s I wonder how I will carry the long, bristly bundle inside, and I doubt my ability to erect it. But I call on my Beloved and within moments I’m dragging it to the door. Like a sled, it glides easily on a blanket of snow. I pull the tree inside and recognize the most challenging part is upon me. Again I ask for help, and without even thinking I put the stand on while the tree rests on its side. I tighten the screws with ease.
I take hold of the top and spring it into position. It stands straight, tall and full. It is a proud and flawless tree.
My mother wheels in on her walker and looks it up and down. Tears well in her eyes. “It’s the most beautiful tree I’ve ever seen,” she says. And I agree, knowing I did nothing but show up willing to flow the Divine current into this day.
All else was graced.
The life of service to the Divine is a life of ease. I have nothing to get and only to give. I am an empty vessel channeling a limitless power. When I am willing to act in Its name, that power provides all that I need. I don’t worry about sustenance, energy or money. All flow into my life when I am willing to flow them into the Divine creation.
In service, I am free.