This past week Braden and Madison’s youth group, along with Aaron’s parents, planted a beautiful maple tree in the courtyard of the church where Aaron’s family attended. I went along with Braden and Madison to this special event this past Monday afternoon.
The weather over the past few weeks has been totally uncharacteristic of our typical weather; it has been raining and raining and we’ve had mostly cloudy days every day. Monday was more of that same stuff. Rain was coming down and there was some occasional thunder and lightning going on.
Braden eagerly volunteered to be one of the first people to begin digging the hole for the tree. He put a lot of passion and fervor into digging that hole in the ground as he turned his deep sorrow of losing his friend into a powerful digging force. The whole group of us stood around in the chilly temperature and rain, some getting wet and some under umbrellas, all hoping that at least the lightning would stay away. As the digging went on, Braden did not want to give up his shovel or his turn and reluctantly did so after a while. The hole was eventually completed, not taking too terribly long since there were plenty of strong diggers to work at it, and so the tree was planted. Aaron’s parents carried the inscribed stone and set it down by the tree. The work outside all finished, we went inside the building.
Gathered together inside, there were a few more stories of Aaron told, some smiles and laughter and tears, along with prayers offered up to God. We gathered there together audibly sharing joys and thoughts of Aaron and sharing silently the pain of his loss. So much healing of broken hearts that still needs to take place…God is able…