Once there was a tree…
and she loved a little boy.
He would sleep in her shade.
And the boy loved the tree…
But time went by…
And the boy grew older.
And the tree was often alone.
In September 2013, we had the joy of attending the wedding of our friends Brian and Juli. They were married near Valladolid, Spain at a beautiful estate. The estate grounds consist of mature trees, gorgeous flowers, and lush vegetable plants. Multiple structures, including a beautiful old Spanish farmhouse, provide architectural beauty and accent to the manicured green grass that covers the property. When I think of this place the words from the Mumford song, “Not With Haste,” come to mind… “So as we walked through fields of green…was the fairest sun I’d ever seen.” It is no coincidence that this song drums up visions of Heaven and God’s unyielding grace, because Brian and Juli’s actions do the same.
Much like our wedding, the weather didn´t cooperate too well for us, however despite the weather, the surroundings were still gorgeous and the finca owner; Juanjo, selected a very beautiful and prominent site for the tree to be planted and remain. It´s an olive tree, which can and will live for up to 1,000 years in this region. We hope it to be a long and lasting tribute to Simon, something that we all can visit from time to time, and so can many future generations of Balentines. Every year it´s always a possibility that we will be able to harvest the fruits from this tree, to enjoy with each other back in the U.S. Juanjo is an amazing man and has offered to always be able to send pictures of the tree whenever you would like, and has given us blanket permission to always be able to visit the tree without advance notice. Someday, hopefully we can all do that together. In the interim, Julieta´s mother Cristina, has offered to help harvest the olives in the fall and send them to the US.Beneath the tree is a plaque that reads:
Simon Adam Balentine
May 14, 2014 to May 21, 2014
A brief but powerful and inspiring life.
Una vida breve pero poderosa e inspiradora.
Simon’s Tree at the finca reminds me of “The Giving Tree.” To me, The Giving Tree/ Simon’s Tree dares us to believe that God loves us as we are, not as we should be. Our tendency is to think that if we change, God will love us. No. The tree tells us that if we believe he audaciously and furiously loves us, we have no choice but to change. And then, perhaps we’ll become more like the tree.