Did you know the tree in our logo has a story behind it?
Back in 1885, when the church built the first cottage on the site that the Retreat House now stands, four beautiful oak trees were planted along the western side of the cottage to offer shelter from the afternoon sun. These trees were called the four sisters, standing shoulder to shoulder against time. These trees grew and weathered all the seasons for more than 100 years. Thousands of visitors found comfort in their shade, climbed their branches and shared their secrets and dreams with these glorious ladies. Over time, their branches gave way to the weight of all that love, much like Shel Silverstein’s “Giving Tree”. In 2005, when we began renovation to the Retreat House, 3 of the trees, three sisters, had been lost to disease, lightning strikes and rot. Only one last beauty remained. When we began the complicated excavation process to put a foundation under the cottage that had sat on piers in sand, we found that the sisters had wrapped their roots around the piers. We were told that the last tree would have to come down because there was no way to save her. My sweet mother, with a love for all living things and a reverence for green growing things, climbed up into that tree and refused to come down until we promised to save her. My sweet mama had her own sit in, in direct defiance of the reasonable path. Her perseverance won out.
From the beginning of our time here in this place God created, we knew we were only stewards. This meant sacrifice was necessary, challenges would be numerous, and perseverance would be our saving grace. It is a labor of love. I find constant reminders that there was a greater plan for us, lessons to be learned and gifts to be discovered. From two clear vantage points in Winter, Spring and Fall, you can see the major limbs form a beautiful heart. This reminder that we are just where we are supposed to be, sharing this place with those celebrating their love.
Happy Valentine’s Day