Saturday, September 20, 2008

Unintentional Mistakes

Growing up there were three apple trees in our backyard. I loved one tree the most. It's apples were red--not yellow and green like the others. The apples from that tree were crisp and tart, unlike any apples I've ever tasted. After a good frost they were cold and juicier than before. 

One day, as a child, I found a small knife. It was silver with a pearl handle. Unlike the pocket knives my father used to cut string from hay bales, this knife didn't fold up. I liked the way the knife felt in my hands. I liked using it. It was light and comfortable. I took that knife and began stripping the bark off the apple tree--my favorite tree. 

I stripped long strings of bark from the trunk and main branch. I watched the bark curl, exposing the fleshy wood underneath. I thought nothing of it, until my parents found me knife in hand, carving into the tree. They were not happy. What was I thinking? 

My parents explained that stripping the bark from the tree had made it vulnerable. I'd exposed it to disease, to insects, to the elements. The tree, they said, would probably die. I cried and cried. I loved that tree. I loved its apples. I hadn't meant it any harm. I hadn't understood that I was doing something wrong. 

It was the first time that I remember making a big mistake without realizing I was making one. Until that point I honestly thought that I'd have a clear understanding of my choices; that I'd always clearly know wrong from right. Instead I'd made an unintentional mistake.

The tree lived. For many, many years it bore the scar I gave it. It may still, although I think it's grown over. I still love the apples from that tree. I wonder how many unintentional mistakes I've made throughout my life, and I wonder when I'll realize that I've made them. I only hope it won't be too late. 


Lynne's Somewhat Invented Life said...

Sometimes don't realize that we've made a mistake until later when we slap or forehead with the palm of our hand and say, "What was I thinking?"

But those mistakes often lead to good things. Understanding. Repentance. Compassion for people who are even more stupid than we are and a great story, which was beautifully written. As usual.

How are things at your end of the valley?

Scrappy Girl said...

What a great story! I love red apples best too. Over the summer I ate so many that people would joke that I was "trying to keep Dr. Hubby away." LOL!

Sarah Mae said...

Life is filled with mistakes, so true for everyone! I'm thankful for Jesus 'cause He covers them! I can move forward in grace, knowing that if one of my past mistakes kicks me later in life, I can ask forgivness, either of someone or myself. Great post!

Anneke said...

Hi - It's Anneke. How fun to visit blogs! I'm embarrassed that you're reading my "not good writing" blog since you are such a great writer! Oh well... that's who I am. It's fun to read your stories. So it sounds like you had your baby... I hope all is well. Do you post pictures of your kids? I'd love to see them.

Mer said...

DeAnn - This is Meridee:) I found your blog through Anneke's - how fun to "see" you again! I have been catching up on your posts. I am with Anneke - pictures please and more details on where you've been and what you've been up to since I saw you last - hasn't it been at least ten years?!

Damama T said...

Like all of us who have had our flesh and hearts ripped from our body, the tree will carry the scars within itself for all of its days. The miracle is that it was so strong at its core that it healed and continued to thrive dispite its wounds. And it continues to bless the world with its delicious products. Hmmmm, sounds like a young writer and new mother I know. ;o) xoxoxo