New England is famous for many things, but perhaps one of the most iconic symbols of New England, and especially Vermont, is the maple tree. We can laud it for its sugary sap and the delightful syrup that it provides. People visit here in the autumn to behold the brilliant displays of colored foliage with which the Lord adorns the landscape in early October. What a delightful feast for the eyes is that splash of red, orange and yellow leaves as the maple trees dress up for one last moment of glory before November ushers in its world of gray monotones.
But what of the maple seeds? Anyone in this corner of the country can tell you that maple trees drop a lot of seeds in the spring. By God’s design, each seed comes equipped with its own little “parachute” wing that enables it to spin wildly in the breeze and travel a ways away from the mother tree. Each seed bears the potential of becoming a new, strong, glorious maple tree; each one is carried away by wind to find a home in the welcoming earth. No two seeds, nor their resulting trees, are truly identical.
And then they diverge. A myriad maple seeds never find a home in the ground. They land on streets and sidewalks and are seen as useless, half-rotted trash to be scornfully raked up and thrown away. But some seeds do land in fertile soil, and after decades of growth they become strong trees, producing joy and beauty, and maple sugar and stunning foliage, to delight the next generation.
Only two destinies are possible: to be cast into perdition, or to grow into something magnificent.
In this simple and profound way, God the creator has shown us the only two destinies of the human soul.