I remember the year the trees were taken up with the gypsy moth. Wrapped in shrouds of a foggy grey web, branch by branch they died. Subtle and fatal, all at once. Tree after tree along our streets, back roads and driveway. "That one is next," we'd say, pointing at the adjacent healthy tree whose leafy arm brushed against the white web next to it.
No one told me this is what death would feel like. Like a slow grey hue, subtly pulled over your eyes, arms, legs. I found out at 20 when a friend died of cancer. Death and grief come instantly and slowly, creeping in a fast fatal blow to any green limbs you have stretched out toward life.
No one told me this is what sin was like. Like a shroud that seems innocuous at first but is the first bell of danger. I found out at 22 when I saw the web around my feet. It will spread. It always spreads.
I remember the year of the gypsy moth — how they came and devoured our foliage while we watched. It was beautiful and devastating all at once. The end is deceiving and seemingly triumphant.
But it's not. Don't be fooled by the shroud. In a garden, it was pulled back and folded up, shown to be defeated once and for all.
Hope in Christ is not an analgesic. It's the cure. In him, death and sin are never the final word. Not in the balmy summers of my childhood. Not when I was 20. Not when I was 22. Not today.