I have made some efforts in sprucing up the blog the last few weeks – I think it looks a lot better than before, but am open to suggestions. As long as the suggestions are constructive and not limited to:
“Your blog is ugly, fix it.”
One of the cool features of this WordPress theme is that it allows me to use a rotation of pictures for the header at the very top. So every time you visit, there will be a different picture up there. I have tried to choose humorous pictures for the most part – one of me menacing my younger daughter, another one of me asleep on the couch, and one of my wife pretending to be a pirate. I did this consciously because so much of the content that I write tends to be very sober and serious, I thought it might help to add a little levity to the blog. But I also wanted to use realistic pictures because I find it strange when people create blogs to communicate honest thoughts and emotions, but post pictures that look like they were taken with Vaseline smeared all over the lens. You mean to tell me that you go around the house looking like that all day? Give me a break.
But one of my pictures is very different from the others – it is this one:
It was created by a tattoo artist in Baltimore, and hopefully will be inked on to my forearm sometime this year, if I can summon up both the courage and the money for it. But let me tell you the story behind this picture, which I call “The Mulberry Tree in Bloom”.
In the spring of 2010, things were very hard in my house. Carol had just started chemotherapy, and I had just started a brand new church – rather unsuccessfully, I might add. We had been living in our new home for only a few months by that time, and I became aware of what kind of trees and plants we had around the house, or the lack thereof. One of the trees in our backyard was a mulberry, a small tree that bears purple berries that are quite tasty. But I knew that this mulberry tree would never bear fruit, because it was completely encircled and strangled by a wisteria vine, which, while being very pretty, is very invasive. This tree was all but dead as a result.
But as the days got warmer, I noticed that the tree was growing leaves and then…greenish red berries, that eventually ripened into deep purple mulberries. And not just a few of them, but tons, carpeting the ground beneath its branches, and inviting all kinds of birds to eat and rest…and then crap all over my car.
I sat in my living room, looking at the tree in wonderment, reflecting, when I realized that this was a perfect metaphor for my wife and her own struggle. An invasive form of breast cancer had taken a hold of her, spreading its tendrils from her chest to her arm, threatening to spread and choke the life out of her. But she resisted and refused, fighting its influence, and even bearing fruit – my son, Jonathan. I saw my wife in that beautiful tree, and wept at the power of the image, and the strength of my wife. And then I immediately took my axe and chopped that damn wisteria to bits.
I hadn’t intended this post to be devoted to my wife per se, but there is scarcely any other way I could end this entry. My wife is a very simple and humble person, not at all interested in trying to look impressive in the eyes of others. And because of this, I feel it is my duty to tell you that you will never find a stronger, more lovely, and faithful woman. And I love her deeply.