The best kind of trees I can imagine right now are the ones pictured above in the chapel of my patron saint, Theodora of Vasta. The trees grew up, in, through and around the walls of the chapel. It is said that this is spot upon which Theodora gave her life fighting for her village. In some stories she is disguised as a man. The stories shift of course over time, because people are the living embodiment of the “telephone game” after all. But the best bit of the story are the words that Theodora is said to have uttered as she lay dying-
My Christ, forgive my enemies. Let my body become a church, my hair a forest of trees, and my blood a spring to water them
I never get tired of that story or of the inspiration it provides to me on a daily basis as I stand praying with her icon near me. I look into her eyes and maybe sometimes she says, “well, it didn’t happen exactly like that” but I wave that off. I don’t care. It’s the effect that matters to me. It gets me up and moving. It gets me taking care and living well and wishing for good things even for my enemies. It feels like trees growing up and in and through the walls of me, supporting me, keeping me upright even in the worse storm.
I’ll take the story as it is. I’ll take the trees.