Jon Heydenreich

Jon Heydenreich

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In front of my church there is a majestic tree filled with blossoming leaves. Tall. Stately. But look closely and you see the barren branches. There will be more barren branches next year. The tree is holding on.

When I drive up I-91 into the forests of Vermont there are beautiful sites until you come to the patch of naked trees. There is a large swath of them. No leaves. I suspect some kind of bug has infected them.

Life is fragile. We all know this, but not really. COVID, and our reaction to it, impressed upon me that lots of folks do not really get it. COVID is a message of sorts – life can change in the blink of an eye.

We resented COVID. We resented the changes it required us to make. We resented its message. Some folks who made positive changes – walking, exercising – are back to the way it was in no time.

In one sense COVID yanked us back to a spiritual truth. Be grateful for the day. Live in the now. This day matters. We do not like the message that this day is fragile. Somehow that applies to someone else, not me. COVID said, “Yes, you.”

If only trees could speak.

Jon Heydenreich is pastor at Brattleboro’s Trinity Lutheran Church.