Thursday, March 15, 2007

relationship tree

last saturday we did art with our kids. the theme this month is relationships, so the project for art was to create a physical representation of our relationships. we had a variety of materials to use, including popsicle sticks and a glue gun (which most of the kids used).

this task was overwhelming to me. because of the life i've been privileged to live, i know many people. and it's important to me to stay in touch -- sometimes that just means a monthly update, but it also means prayer, phone calls, emails, letters, and missing people. so i asked God how i could do a tree that was honest and actually able to hold most of the people i know. and this is what came to mind. a many layered tree, with each layer being a portion of those i know (family, people from my college, people who i work with, places i have some relationship with, etc.). i really like the symbolism of that .. that my "tree" (or self) is full because of those i have known and do know.

a friend of mine says "the quality and content of our lives depends on the quality and content of our relationships with God, others, ourselves, and the environment." we are largely defined and changed by our relationships, and it's important to name them -- to realize who are important people and places and ideas. the symbol that each of us has a 'tree' or is a 'tree' is also quite nice. a growing, changing, being which goes through seasons and produces fruit or blossoms or thorns. having roots and leaves, presence in today and yesterday and hope for tomorrow. by the grace of God. i've been amazed at how i have some friends who i don't speak with that often, but when we do speak our relationship is stronger than before -- somehow God keeps growing us together.

most of the kids were able to write names of most of those they know. and in 6th or 8th grade, most people don't have a large circle of acquaintances -- family, schoolmates, neighbors, and people from activities. it was strange to see that contrast between their trees and mine. i wrote initials because it didn't seem like there would be room for names. (and i keep thinking of new people to add .. i'm not sure it will ever be 'finished'.) it means i have more people to miss, among other things .. but i somehow believe that God isn't done yet. with life comes more opportunities to know others, to know and be known, to love and be loved, and to see God reflected in beautiful unique ways in those we are privileged to know.


Bethany said...

I love this idea! I may need to copy you, as I, too have been saying more goodbyes than I would have liked in the last 5 years or so... Love you!

Amy said...

I think it's a great idea too. Sort of like a family tree, but not necessarily blood relatives.

If you were into model making, this would be a fantastic 3-D project!