On a wide curve on the Charleston Sideroad between Airport Road and the village of Caledon stands a lone elm tree. About ten years ago, on that road at dusk, my husband had drifted off to sleep in the passenger seat. As we rounded the curve, in some hazy dream state, his eyes opened, he shuddered and belted out, "Tornado!" The elm, standing alone by the roadside in the dusk, had been mistaken for a twister. Ever since then we've called it the "Tornado Tree."
This living monument was somehow overlooked when the road was put through and the farmers cleared the land. Or perhaps it remained a lone survivor in an outbreak of Dutch Elm disease. Why it is there is beyond me, but I am grateful. I drive that road many times in a month on my way to visit my elderly dad, and it is a marker and reminder.
Isaiah 55:12 comes to mind: "You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands." The elm, branches raised toward heaven and spreading over the earth seems to be reaching toward its creator and at the same time pointing the way. I've imagined it worshiping, standing, roots firm, for over a hundred years. It fulfils its purpose: it provides shade, it houses birds and insects and it is a living testament to its Creator, a thing of beauty put there for us to enjoy.
I want to be like that Tornado Tree. I want to fulfill my purpose, thrive where I'm planted and point the way to the Lord of Creation. I want to worship Him with the gifts He has imparted and bless others. When storms come, I want to stand, even if I'm standing alone.
That is the lesson of this elm tree for me.