Sitting on the Hood of My Car, Smoking a Cigarette

My friend got a new apartment. I drive a truck, so naturally my help was requested. I was happy to oblige because he makes good pizza, and what better way to spend a Saturday than driving around Grand Rapids?

On the drive I saw this tree. I like it. So I stopped and took a picture of it. There’s several things I like about this tree. It stands alone, and it’s placement seems to defy logic. Just a singular tree alone in a field.

I like that it’s old, it’s stood the test of time. It’s a tired cliché, but what stories could that tree tell? I bet it would have a few worth hearing.

Most of all, I like why it’s there, alone in the middle of a farmer’s field to provide a place of rest. I have heard leaving a single tree in the middle of your field was a common practice. This was done so you would have a shady place to rest in the middle of the day.

The farmer would wake up, get ready for the day and start working his field. He would plow, plant, fertilize, or harvest. Whatever the task for that day, when the farmer would get half way done, he would have a place to sit in the shade and rest.

A simply beautiful idea

I’m a busy guy. Full-time student, working, multiple teaching events a week. Traveling at least one weekend a month to various churches around the country. That’s all without notofthenorm stuff. Sometimes I wish I could sit in the middle of the field.

Sit in the shade, watch the horses rest, eat a sandwich and drink some lemonade. Maybe take a little post-lunch nap.

It’s a busy life. Most of us are always up to something. Planning ahead and accomplishing something of importance everyday. Those aren’t bad things. But what’s the point without a tree to rest under?

The nice thing about that tree isn’t that it represents laziness, the farmer had to do half the work to get there. The nice thing about the tree is that it represents a moment of rest in the middle of the work.

I love the work, I really do. Being busy is a good thing for me. In today’s culture that’s a pretty common quality. However, I have noticed something: if I take a moment to rest my task always gets done in a healthier way. Taking that moment to rest reminds me of why I’m doing what I’m doing. It reminds me who’s in charge and that life is just a collection of moments and I better live them all.

As I looked at that tree in the middle of the field, and thought of the restful moments that have been spent under it, I thought back to my most restful moments. One in particular stood out:

Summer of 2014, I was working at a small market near Lake Michigan. I would work 50+ hours a week, so I was busy. This particular week had been a terrible one. Simply put, life wasn’t going my way. On this day I was working a 2-11pm shift, I liked closing so this was my favorite time to work. At about 9pm I took my break. My Ford Explorer was parked facing the lake. Next to me was a marina full of sail boats, their rigging and sails made a pleasant flapping sound in the breeze.

I ate my dinner rather quickly and began to rush back inside. As I half jogged back inside, I checked the time and noticed I still had 10 minutes of break time. So I went back to my explorer and sat on the hood, I looked over the lake and lit a cigarette, an American spirit to be exact. (I’m not a smoker so this was unusual)

As I sat on the hood of my car smoking a cigarette, I knew I was going to be okay. I can’t explain why or how. Something about the lake with the sun slowly setting, maybe it was something about the sail boats or the cigarette. Whatever it was, I knew I was going to be just fine.

Perhaps you need a moment of rest. Maybe your halfway done with the day or with the week. Maybe you need to sit under a tree, rest in the shade, and drink a cold lemonade. All the time remembering, your going to be okay.

Wherever  your “spot” is I hope you go there and take a moment to remember, sometimes, you’ve gotta sit on the hood of your car and smoke a cigarette.

Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed, says the lord, who has compassion for you. Isaiah 54:10

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