All that is left is the ground where a tree used to be -- a shelter from which warmth, security and contentment emanated, and was a testimony to the love of the ones who cared for it when it was but a seedling, yet it was ravaged by a forest fire that began with a small, glowing cigarette butt thrown carelessly beside it.
In despair I fell to my knees and buried my face into my hands; it's gone, there is nothing to save. I held back the tears to hide the loss from everyone else and smiled emptily each day; I wept alone in the darkest hours of night, fervently whispering to God,
let it be all right, teach us how it is to truly love.
Then, from the blackened soil sprung forth a tiny sprout of green. Someone was nurturing such a fragile plant on damaged ground. Only a prayer could keep it alive. But he came by every day to tend to it as I watched from a distance. Soon I found myself drawn to this man's resilient soul; each day I inched a step closer until I knelt next to him. I was welcomed by a familiar face. His eyes searched mine for the hope I was trying to turn away from, and I saw through them an acceptance of divine will that calmly takes the pain but still believes that what has been lost may be regained.
And so with faith and a spirit that refuses to falter, we rebuild. It may not be easy, it will take long, but it will last.