I took this photo personally. Standing there in the shadows of the Courthouse in Lahaina, Maui. Now it seems all too surreal. Wondering often whether I dreamed this event or not, I look up at the wall in my office where this photo hangs, and remember the day itself. At times it still feels as though I’m living someone else’s life, as though I don’t deserve to be this happy, or to have these kinds of joy-filled experiences. But here I am, and I took this picture.
Captured by the tree itself, and the details written on the plaque near where I stood, I snapped away from different angles, hoping for just one shot to capture the enormity of this living tree. This Banyan tree reaches up 60 feet into the sky, and is the largest Banyan tree in the United States. It has aerial roots, which grow into huge thick trunks when they reach the ground, thereby supporting the large canopy of the tree. This particular tree has 16 major trunks in addition to the main trunk pictured here. The canopy of this one tree covers almost an acre of the park.
This experience also brought with it a return to the marvel of Creation itself. I loved the last line captured on the plaque. “At sunset, you can hear the cacophony of thousands of birds, mostly mynah, chattering as they get ready to roost in the tree for the night.” In my minds eye, I imagine the scene, and I’m transported back to that spot, and the joy of that day.
Isaiah the prophet described this kind of joy.
For you will go out with joy and be led forth with peace; the mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
It’s surreal I know, but imagine this giant Banyan tree, joining with all the other giant trees of all species around the world, combined with all their “normal” sized tree-friends across the globe, as their limbs and branches like human hands bang together “clapping” at the joy of Jesus’ return.
Just before this verse, the prophet also recorded God’s own words:
So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.
Surreal? You bet. Still true… still true.