In Bobby Goldsboro’s song, “Honey,” he articulates a poignant vision of love (God’s
love?) where a tree is both the sign of love, and in one sense, its fruit. There is no mention of family in the song but it could be presumed, as the wife passes and the tree remains.
In Goldsboro’s world when Honey plants the tree… “see the tree how big it’s grown, but friend, it hasn’t been too long, it was’nt big…’twas just a twig…then the first snow came and she ran up to brush the snow away so it would’nt die…
But, as God would have it, Honey. herself, was called by God early and the tree survived her.
” and it was in the early spring, when flowers bloom and robins sing, …she went away…and Honey, I miss you, and I’m being good, and I love to be with you, if only I could…
… One day while I was not at home while she was there and all alone, the angels came…now all I have is memories of Honey…and I wake up nights and call her name…
…now my life’s an empty stage where Honey lived and Honey played…and love grew up… and a small cloud passes overhead and cries down on the flower bed that Honey loved…
… and see the tree how big it’s grown…and friends, it hasn’t been too long…it was just a twig…” (song ends, fades)
Goldsboro was thinking “love.” when he wrote his song but we are thinking “evangelization” when I listened to it, an evangelization which is, well, “love in action” I am thinking specifically of BCBP evangelization which is “love in action”, the kind that many of my readers have known and will know until our own angels come to hold our hands to lead us to where the Lord of the universe, including all trees, lives, in the grand forest deep in the heart of the universe.
In my book “A Camiguin island in Mindanao and The Houses of my life,” (Amazon.com), on page 118, I said the following:
… Once in 2001, on one dark night, on the porch of our beach front property in the village of Anito in Mambajao, in the island of Camiguin, at end of a day or two of praying and introspection, I experienced what I consider ” a special grace from God,” when I read the book by French Canadian Jesuit Nils Gillaumette, titled “God Tales” ( St. Paul Publications).
This books tells the story of an older man, fearful of death, who fell asleep on his rocking chair, and was awakened gently by an angel who said to him, ” Come, let us be on our way.”
And so the man stood up and allowed himself to be led by the angel, to heaven.
It so happened that during the short vacation that I had on my island those days, that my personal ” fear of the month,” for I had many, happened to be that of death and dying.
After reading Fr. Nil’s imaginative story, I felt some comfort and peace, for, like the man in the story, I too was sitting on my rocking chair looking out into the sea, and I said to myself, “was that man, me?”
When I came back to Cagayan, and heard mass at Xavier University presided by Fr. Gillaumette, I sought him at the sacristy and related to him my experience, whereupon he said” ” at that moment you received a direct grace from God.”
And so, years later, after I had migrated to Ohio, on another time at mass, I reflected that when the time comes for me to meet God, that I am hoping and hopeful that God would “lift” my chin up, and tell me gently to look at His face, for I believe that when I am ushered into God’s presence, my sins and all my heavy guilt would not allow me to have a proud, chin-up look at all.
And in that moment, with all my heart and soul, and with faith in the “Blood of the Lamb, God’s own Son, who washed clean all the sins of the world, I would expect that God would touch my chin, or rather that God would touch all of our chins, so that all our tears can be wiped away, and all our longings for Him, fulfilled.
And furthermore, I believe that God will do this, not because we deserve it, but because He loves us all.”
Goldsboro’s song speaks of Honey, and of the tree she planted, and of snow and spring, and all other things, including all the beautiful things in love and in marriage, and one phrase in the song tho most significant, could have easily been missed in the singing and the music: the part that says
….now my life’s an empty stage where Honey loved and Honey played… and love grew up… and a small cloud passes overhead and cries down on the flower bed that Honey loved…
It is that phrase, “and love grew up,” to become the tree that Honey planted, a mustard tree perhaps as The Lord intimated to us, but a tree nevertheless, and trees are what BCBP evangelization is all about, because in the end, in the Kingdom of God, there has to be many many trees in the paradise that could well be a forest.
I have seen in BCBP Cagayan de Oro, and even here in BCBP USA, where the Honeys in our lives planted seeds and trees where “love grew up,” and I believe we know who they are.