The sky is falling on winter trees

Winter Trees
Pen on paper

I took a seasonal position at a local tax office. Once peak is over, so is the job. With the availability of jobs decreasing, I am fortunate to have found this one. I grabbed up my sketchbook and the first pen I could find in my purse and sketched the small trees near the parking lot where I work.

I share a ride with my husband to keep the transportation costs down. I arrive at about 7:30 and the doors do not open until 9:00. While I wait, I listen to NPR news and then the classical music that follows. It is a very peaceful beginning to every day.

There is a lot of talk about our economic crisis on the news. While I hate to see so many families losing so much, I often wonder if this is the crisis that will pull us toward valuing the most valuable resource we have; each other. It is in a moment of crisis that we discover who we really are and what is most important to us. Being rich or poor has always been a relative term and only exists when compared to something else. Who are we without a monetary value attached to our identity?

If we cant afford air conditioning, perhaps we will go out on our front porches this summer and see the neighbors doing the same. We might even be prompted to strike a conversation. If we can't afford all of our electronic toys to occupy our time in waiting rooms, perhaps we will notice the people around us. If we cut out expensive activities to keep our kids busy, perhaps we will spend time with them. Maybe we need to have one parent home with the kids again. Maybe this crisis is just what we need to discover who we are without the distraction of money.

Money is a fictional character in the game of life. Our country seems to be mourning its loss.

We love money. We hate money. We want money. We need money. We give money away. We watch money grow. We lose money. We do it for the money. We do it with very little money. We worry if our money is safe. The very way we talk about money sounds like it is a living breathing thing. It really isn't. It is a measuring tool. I get 8 of those for every hour I spend doing this. That is what money is. It was designed to be a place holder for time and resources. When our government talks about giving money to banks and businesses, what they are really doing is giving away our collective time and resources. Would we get out there and donate our time, talents and resources to the same institutions if there were no dollar amount involved? If not, where would we donate our time, talents and resources?

That is where I am looking for the answer to the question that haunts me every time I listen to another news story about how the sky is falling. "What can I do to help?" I don't have money, but I do have time, talents and resources. I see no need to wait for the government to come up with an answer I can find for myself. If I see someone that needs a meal, I will invite them over for dinner. If I see someone that needs help carrying their groceries in the parking lot, I will offer to help. If I see someone that could use a hug, I will give them my hug. Most importantly, I will do my best to take care of myself and my family so that I am not taking a spot in the soup line that someone else might need.

What does this have to do with winter trees?

They look like they are dead. They are stripped bare of all the leaves and color we associate with trees, but they are still alive. They are no less a tree in winter than they were in the summer. They are probably going to make it to spring and start sprouting leaves regardless of the freezing temperatures and adverse weather we have had this year.

.. and so will we.

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Defining who is truly rich has become rather difficult. People I thought were rich, in money I mean, have lost it all lately...bad planning, poor decision making and planning, health or other reasons. And those that appeared to have very little are doing just fine and will probably weather the storm without major losses. But I agree in the end the most important thing is having the people we love with us, healthy and secure. The new TV, car or pool seems to have lost some of its luster. As for me, the fancy stuff never really mattered much. I know exactly what it is like to have little comfort (no a/c, junk cars, hand me down clothes and so forth). Heck I know what it is like not to have enough money to eat. Because of all my past experiences I have learned to be cautious very cautious. I have also learned to appreciate everything I have and every moment the Lord allows me to spend on this earth with the ones I love.

Your sketches are always amazing.
JafaBrit's Art said…
That was a thoughtful post that I enjoyed reading and I liked how you tied a drawing into it.