Guilt And The Courage Tree
I was born fearless.I walked on thin stiles, climbed trees, invaded cavernous water tanks and jumped from rooftops. I played war games with the boys and I dreamed of becoming an army officer who would run for the indomitable Kipchoge Keino.But my many accidents as well as lectures from cautious adults began to educate me in fear: do not go…do not touch… do not, do not instilled fear in me. And soon enough fear became my middle name.
As time elapsed, I collected fear like a magnet iron shavings. I feared in light and in darkness. I feared the eyes in the bush and the man in the moon. I feared grasshoppers as well as crocodiles, angels and demons, life and death and the devil and God. Nothing missed my attention.
Fear became my first love and I revelled whenever I was described as “ the girl who is afraid”. I also sought for the beautiful feet that brought the good tidings of fear. One of those sermons is etched in my mind. A male friend was walking me home on a dark kisii night purpotedly teeming with night runners,witches and wizards riding on hyenas. Sensing my my discomfiture he said,
“Don’t worry, it is good to be afraid. Good people ought to be afraid of the night.”
The words were like a healing salve; my heart of fear fed on them and was strengthened.I continued to live in fear.
Not long afterwards, fiery darts began to bombard my shield of fear.What you fear is greater than you? Perfect love casts out all fear? Fear nothing but God?” I refused to be converted in such short time and held steadfastly to my fear. But the harm had been done because a part of me began to entertain thoughts of freedom from fear. I began to dream of becoming fearless as the child I had once been.
Although I knew that God’s word is the final authority for living, I did not look to it. Instead I listened to a dearly beloved ,who had seen, smelled and touched my fear many times.
“I’m tired of being afraid. I want to have courage!” I said. “What should I do?”
“I have been waiting for you to ask. It’s simple if you do not mind a little pain. All it requires is for the ashes of the courage tree to be infused into your blood stream, close to the heart.”
Although had little tolerance for pain and razors, I was desperate enough to do whatever it took.I gave her a go ahead. My dearly beloved quickly fetched the gnarled bark of the Courage tree; seared it with hot flames; ground the ashes and armed with a brand new razor she made the incision and infused me with courage.
It happened almost two decades ago and lay forgotten in the eons of my mind.
Three years ago, I visited my dearly beloved. The memory of that day long ago was awaked as I saw the Courage Tree in her backyard. Its parched leaves, orange lantern blossoms and rickety gnarled prehistoric bark seemed to beacon me. I hesitated. But after a moment I decided to attack it with the lense of a camera.
Through the lenses I began to explore the landscape of the tree. I scanned its callused and wounded bark which had been harvested for medicine. I studied it’s leaves and flowers, filled with guilt and condemnation.Was this my throne of grace? Was it within this ugly fallible effigy that I had sought courage? Why had I allowed myself to be persuaded? Why had I not gone to my heavenly FATHER like the good book said to receive my courage?Why had I been of so little faith? The guilt poured like raindrops, soaking me, shaming me and making me feel unworthy of the redeeming love I had received.
I looked into the camera again. My eye caught sight of a thorn. Then another thorn- a row of thorns arraying a horizontal branch, like the crown of thorns that mocked His head. Then another vertical stick. Then light came, It was a cross! I had been looking for a sword and a cherubim at the Courage tree but instead all I found was a cross. Suddenly the cloud of condemnation parted and the sun of God’s grace consumed my shame sin and regret.I could see Jesus writing on the soil again and then rising up and saying, “ Woman, I do not condemn you. Go and sin no more.”
I know I will not not sin again. Not that I want to make the habit of sinning, but I am assured that every time I sin, the Cross will eternally stand between me and condemnation, like it did that day in the landscape of the Courage Tree.
Guilt And The Courage Tree