“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.  

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

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Lingering Questions

I’m studying the art of telling a good story.  It’s helping me live with flair. 

Today, I read that every great novel needs mystery and conflict.  Otherwise, the reader won’t turn the page.   As readers, we love and expect a good mystery and a grand conflict.  We want each chapter–maybe even each page–to have a lingering question.

But what about in real life? 

I think that every great life needs mystery and conflict. There’s something beautiful and full of flair about the unresolved.  There’s joy in the lingering questions.  Is it possible that mystery and conflict are written into our own stories on purpose to drive us onward?  All morning, I think about what it means to trust the Author within the mystery and conflict (internal and external) of my own life’s journey.  Do these lingering life questions have a purpose? 

Mystery and conflict provide great motivation to continue on with hope and expectancy.  I’m actually thanking God for writing these elements into my own story.

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Journal:  What are my great life mysteries?  What internal and external conflicts do I need to resolve in my story?

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