Fourteen years ago we took our daughters to Africa for the first time. We spent a month there on a sabbatical. One day we saw a woman walking down the road with a tree balanced on her head.
Yep, you read that right. A whole tree.
You see people balancing a lot of unusual things on their heads (or on their bikes) in Africa, but this was the first and last time we saw a tree. (apparently it’s not THAT rare cuz I was able to Google this picture!)
That night, our daughter, Maggie, walked into our room, carefully balancing a book on her head.
“I’m working up to a tree.” she said.
Since then, Maggie’s “tree” has been a dream of helping underprivileged girls and women around the world to be healthy and happy and to carry their own dreams.
Working up to a tree included subsequent trips back to Africa in different capacities to listen and learn more about the challenges there. Then a degree in International Affairs and now she’s working on a Masters degree in Public Health.
This summer she is working at Pader Girls Academy in Northern Uganda. More on that Wednesday, but til then, I’ve been thinking about how we all can “work up to a tree”, whether that’s in development or something else that’s just, well…big. And difficult.
Here are two questions:
1. What’s your “tree”? What’s the one holy burden (or discontent) that maybe God has put on your heart? For my friend Lynne, it is a “tree” of peace in the Middle East. For my friend Gary it is justice for the oppressed. For Sarah it’s a desire to close the education gap for inner city kids.
2. What’s the “book” you can start with? The small thing? For Lynne it was inviting Israelis and Palestinian visitors into her home for conversation. For Gary it meant learning about the specific injustices in different parts of the world. For Sarah it was tutoring one kid at a time before running a whole tutoring program. For all, it started with prayer.
In the comments, might you tell us about your “book” or the “tree” you’d like to work up to?