In front of my office building in downtown DC stood a 30 foot tree. It was a nice full tree that provided some shade and looked good. The base must have been 2 to 3 feet wide. Yesterday afternoon, it apparently was clipped by a delivery truck and then it fell across K Street - blocking traffic for hours, hitting two vehicles (thankfully nobody was hurt) and generally causing a mess.
Once it fell you could see that the tree was largely hollow inside - you can still see that from the stump that remains. Although it looked good on the outside, it was rotting on the inside. All it took was being clipped by a delivery truck - it is not like the truck really slammed into it - for the whole tree to fall.
The analogy is pretty obvious. People may seem to be fine on the outside, yet rotting away in the middle. Lots of things can cause that rotting - guilt, worry, fear, shame, doubt, jealousy, greed, the list could go on and on. I suspect that we all have at least some of it, the key is finding a constructive way (as opposed to a destructive way) to get rid of it. One of the things that I have been working on is trying to learn to give those things to God. He is more than capable of taking my problems and strengthening my core. As Paul wrote from prison to the church at Philippi - "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7
We also can help each other. If someone had looked closely enough at that tree, they would have seen that it was unhealthy. If we pay enough attention to our friends, family, colleagues and people we meet, we may be able to see or hear that there is something going on beneath the surface. Maybe they just need a person to talk to, or a hug - and we can help them just by being there. Maybe they need more serious help that we cannot provide, but we can help them to find it.
So, the thoughts for the day are 1) do what needs to be done to keep ourselves strong inside - seek out the help that we may need; and 2) pay attention to the people around us and be there for them/help them get the help they may need.
Have a great weekend.