St. Matt's and The Giving Tree -- New Reflection by Parishioner Lindsay Wyman
Rooted in God, our faith grows, spreading branches that shelter, heal, and nourish.
I love books. Our house is overflowing with books - in bedrooms and closets, bookshelves and tabletops, and in countless bins in the basement. Books are what inspired me to teach children how to read, and to become a reading teacher...
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein is a timeless classic with a message rooted in faith and home.
I’ll spare you my elementary teacher “read-aloud” voice and I won’t read the book aloud. Though one could argue the whole book has ecumenical meaning, we won’t debate that today. The premise of the book is about a little boy that grows up loving a tree, and the tree loves the boy in return. He takes all that she has to give as a young boy and then grows up and moves away...only to come back as an adult to ask her for more. I won’t spoil the ending for you - quite yet.
Let’s take a small turn - as most of you know, I grew up in Wilton and grew up going to St. Matthew’s. St. Matt’s was a refuge for me growing up. It was a place where I discovered faith, a place where I experienced a rare bit of peace, a place of community, and a place of promise that God had a grand plan in store for me. I reaped all the benefits I had to reap from St. Matt’s...and then, I was gone. To Virginia for college, to Hawaii for a few years to live out a quarter life crisis, and then to Manhattan and Greenwich and Stamford. I got a Master’s degree, had a baby, got married. And then...I came home. To Wilton. And then... to St. Matt’s.
(Seeing the parallel to the book yet?)
Even in just my 30 some odd years, I can safely say I do know a few truisms about life. Life throws you curveballs. It’s like a box of chocolates. It most certainly deals you the highest highs and the lowest lows. I have come to know that there are very few constants in life...and especially in this current climate, I feel there are fewer and fewer things that I can rely on. Things I can return to consistently, unfailingly, knowing it will always be there for me during those highest highs and the lowest lows.
Life is delicate and uncertain, fragile and unknown. But God is not. And for me, St. Matt’s is not. We may have this new beautiful window, and a different rector, but here are the same pews. And the same wide open doors. And the same community - in my case many of the same, wonderful people that were here for me all along. We celebrate the same milestones and hear the same assurances that God is here for us. Always. To shelter, heal, and nourish.
At the end of The Giving Tree, the boy returns to the tree as an old man, and the tree is now simply a stump, having given her everything to the boy throughout his life. But now, the boy just requests a place to rest, and so she tells him that she can offer him a seat on her stump.
“‘Come, Boy, sit down. Sit down and rest.’ And the boy did. And the tree was happy.”
Like the tree, God asks us to come. Sit down. Sit down and rest among these pews. Listen to the good words. Eat at His table. And drink in the love that surrounds our community here. It is a constant, and an eternal promise.
For many of us, including me, St. Matt’s is this Tree. Our Tree. This constant. These words of promise, love, and compassion.
As we enter this season of gratitude, joy, and celebration, join me in returning to and giving thanks to Our Tree. By sustaining Our Tree with a pledge to St. Matt’s, let it give many more generations of shelter, healing, and nourishment. And Our Tree will be happy.