Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: GRATE (11/19/15)
- TITLE: The Tree of Life
By Lisa Enqvist
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Anjali’s family had lived in a village by the seaside on the west coast of Sri Lanka for many generations. Her grandpa told her stories about his fishing trips far out at sea, but the stories she liked best were about the coconut palms that grew around their hut. “This is your coconut tree, Anjali, the smallest one here. It was planted the day you were born. We can pick the first coconuts when you are ready to start school.”
He continued, showing her each palm and told the story of each family member for whom they had been planted. “This is you uncle Sunil’s tree. It is already forty years old. I planted it the day he was born. My tree is over there. It is sixty-five years old. All the trees remind me of my family. Each tree has its own story.”
Older generations had named the coconut palm “The Tree of Life”. Grandpa’s list of all the uses of the coconut tree seemed endless. They slept on mattresses made of fiber from the coconut husk – the outer layer of fruit. Mother’s broom was also made of that husk. She cooked all their meals in a small stove burning dry coconut shells, stirring the aromatic curries with a coconut ladle.
Anjali remembered her seventh birthday. The first rays of the morning sun sifted through the feather-shaped leaves of Anjali’s own coconut tree. She woke up excited. Her mother was already up making her favorite breakfast, “appa” hoppers. Her mother had chosen the first coconut from Anjali’s tree to prepare coconut milk for the hoppers to celebrate her first school day.
The coconut that Mother used for making coconut milk was ripe. The outer skin was brown, and the husk was dry. The meat or kernel inside the hard shell was pure white. Mother grated the coconut with a coconut grater. She added a little hot water to the grated coconut and squeezed out a thick white liquid, which was coconut milk.
Anjali had to stop dreaming of home. She had to live and work in the city, and not give way to her dreams.
One day Anjali read a notice outside a building: “Who can eat the fruit of the Tree of Life”? That question made her curious. What kind of tree was that? She went inside the building which was full of people. She found a seat far back in the large hall. She did not realize that she had stepped inside a church.
A speaker at the front was reading from a book: “The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground — trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Genesis 2:9 NIV.
The speaker went on to describe how sin came into the life of the first two people. Their choice had brought pain and suffering, and a constant craving and longing for ‘home’. Whoever has ears, let them hear... To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. Revelation 2:7. Many do not even know what ‘home’ they long for. The God who created us all, loves us deeply, beyond any love we have experienced before. He has prepared a way for us to return to our true home, to come back to him. He has prepared a place for us. The tree of life is available to “those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates”. Revelation 22:14.
Anjali wanted to know more. She wanted to taste the fruit of the true Tree of Life. The coconut tree was just a symbol of what was waiting for her.
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