“The Higher You Go, The More Sap There Is”

My daughter climbs high into the pine trees and returns to me covered in tree sap.  It’s everywhere:  hands, feet (she climbs barefoot!), arms, and all over her new white shorts.  They’re ruined. 

The next day, she climbs again.  More sap.  More ruinous results.  What can I do?  Do I ban tree climbing?  I imagine her high within those limbs, smelling the sweet pine oil, and enjoying the wind on her face.  Once, I climbed so high into a pine tree that I could see the top of my own house.  Something about that vantage point gave me confidence as a little girl.  Marked by sap, I returned to the earth happier. 

That horrible sap!  But I know this:  Just because there’s sap doesn’t mean she shouldn’t climb.  And the higher you want to go, she tells me, the more sap there is.  Perhaps every truly great pleasure brings its own form of darkness–its own trouble and cost–and we learn to account for it and manage it.  We learn to battle it because the higher we go, the more trouble comes.  I find this true spiritually and emotionally especially.  The more we embrace God, the more the enemy pursues.  The more we love, the more we risk.  

But we’re ready.  We are willing because the vantage point we gain delivers a certain joy.  What’s a little sap in light of this joy? 

Besides, we discover that Pine Sol cleaner really does remove tree sap from white shorts.  

Journal:  Have you found that the higher you go, the more sap (trouble!) you experience? 


When You Feel Sapped of Strength

Tree Leaking Sap

I think about sap today.  I’m standing outside the apartment, waiting for my fitness friend to accompany me to the gym.  I see the sap weeping out of the tips of the pine tree beside me.  I know sap.  It’s the vital circulating fluid in the tree.  A tree’s sap carries all the nutrients to every part of the tree, much like our own vascular system.

The sap must circulate and deliver the nutrients in a closed system.  I learn that this pine tree isn’t supposed to leak sap.  A tree leaks sap when it experiences a wound or when excess pressure builds up in the tree. 

When we use the word sap as a verb, it means to drain vitality (as in, I was sapped of my strength).  I think about the reasons why we become sapped.  I think about ways we become wounded and what sources of pressure cause our “vital circulating fluid” to drain out.

A woman asks me today how I stay in balance.  She wonders how I find energy and how I refresh.  I think about sap.  You have to attend to where your wounds are.  You have to manage sources of pressure before you’re sapped of strength.  I’m learning to circulate and deliver God’s truth to every wound and every stress.

Living with flair means we know how to circulate and deliver what our mind and body need before we’re sapped.