The Symbol of the “Trouble Tree” in our Lives


Dear Reader:

It has become a ritual for me these days to walk in my garden in the late afternoon or early evening before darkness falls. Each time I feel myself drawn to the “Swamp Maple” that Lisa (Hollow Tree Nursery Owner) called it when I discovered it, accidentally, thrown in among the grandchildren’s Japanese Maples.

Over the years I have fussed and fretted over keeping the grandchildren’s Japanese Maples alive, each with their name plate inscribed next to it… yet completely forgotten the ‘swamp maple’ in the far back yard (out of sight) behind the potting shed/garage.

(L to R) Eva Cate, Rutledge, Jake, Eloise, and Lachlan

*Ironically the swamp maple has grown and done better than all the Japanese Maples put together… with me constantly fussing over them…while the swamp maple got no attention or extra watering or care along the way. Mother Nature is apparently a much better gardener than myself! 🙂


I love to feel its leaves and talk to it like I do the grandchildren’s trees…encouraging everyone to grow, grow, grow. The other day as I was holding one leaf I remembered an old story I put on the blog post years ago…called The Trouble Tree and realized it ties in with Easter more than I originally thought.


“The Trouble Tree”

The carpenter I hired to help me restore an old farmhouse had just finished a rough first day on the job. A flat tire made him lose an hour of work, his electric saw quit, and now his ancient pickup truck refused to start. While I drove him home, he sat in stony silence.

On arriving, he invited me in to meet his family. As we walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands. When opening the door he underwent an amazing transformation.

His tanned face was wreathed in smiles and he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss. Afterward he walked me to the car. We passed the tree and my curiosity got the better of me. I asked him about what I had seen him do earlier.

“Oh, that’s my trouble tree,” he replied.” I know I can’t help having troubles on the job, but one thing’s for sure, troubles don’t belong in the house with my wife and the children. So I just hang them on the tree every night when I come home. Then in the morning I pick them up again.” He paused.

“Funny thing is,” he smiled, “when I come out in the morning to pick ’em up, there ain’t nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before.”


Maybe, unconsciously, that is what I am doing every evening…leaving my troubles behind, laying down my worries and burdens by the Swamp Maple. It must be working because I am sleeping soundly most nights.

The Son of God certainly had his “Trouble Tree” didn’t he? He was crucified on one…yet this was a tree where He would willingly give up his life for ours and take on the troubles of the world on a  criss-crossed tree one terrible Friday.

The way to lay down our burdens is to tell ourselves at this exact moment…all is well…don’t dwell on an uncertain future or be sad about a past that is gone…just concentrate on the moment, breathing in and out…we are alive….we are well….thank you Jesus for this blessing…especially today.

So until tomorrow…Let’s take time today, this Palm Sunday, to send a “thank you” note, in advance, to Christ… thanking Him for the opportunity to be saved by grace, His grace, and forgiven for our sins…our burdens.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Mollie sent me a photo of the Palm Sunday door arrangement she created…Aren’t we lucky to live in the lowcountry of South Carolina where palmetto and palm fronds surround us in abundance?  So Creative Mollie! 🙂 🙂 🙂


I dropped lunch off at Anne’s yesterday and as I was driving off I noticed Walnut Farms had the cutest cut-out Easter symbols for residents to use wherever… Liked Anne’s idea of hanging them from the mailbox…thoughtful neighborhood project!

Way to go Anne and Friends for a terrific show of community spirit as Easter quickly approaches!

Happy Palm Sunday…mine sure has turned out to be. Michele Jones (a friend from my church) saw my blog post offering to loan any and all of the Louise Penny detective series novels…Michele texted to ask if she could stop by and get the next couple in the series. I was delighted to be taken up on my offer!

Michelle arrived just before darkness…and I couldn’t believe my eyes…she brought me a large palm frond for Palm Sunday and (excuse the pun) but “Hallelujah, Hallelujah…she also brought gold…the paper kind…Toilet Paper!” 🙂 🙂 🙂 Seriously…Thank you Michele..I was getting pretty low!

I arranged the palm frond, lit a candle and had my own private moment of worship in reverence of Palm Sunday with all the hope it brought that day to God’s children and continues to bring… even now in these challenging times.



About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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4 Responses to The Symbol of the “Trouble Tree” in our Lives

  1. Rachel Edwards says:

    Love the idea of leaving your troubles at the door…and the word spread about the palms…Debbie got me some from her sister’s yard…posts today of palm arrangements honorong Holy Week…but what made my day was the sentence that you dropped something off…so thrilled that you are able to get out just to ride…


  2. Becky Dingle says:

    Sometimes just getting in the car and riding around this gorgeous town we get to call home is all I need to perk me back up….of course ice cream helps too! 🙂 !


  3. ambikasur says:

    Hi Becky.. Hope you all are doing well there… And I really hope that all of you are safe from this pandemic virus…
    Here’s news from my side… We are all facing a lockdown in India… The whole country is quarantined and literally staying home now… And this lockdown period for now is 3 weeks… For the first time in years, we have not had any church services.. And this Easter week without church is also heartbreaking… Unfortunately, because of the curfew, we are all having to pray strictly at home only, no freedom to even go out, except for essentials like groceries, fruits, milk and veggies… It’s a really tough time here, and the virus is spreading easily like wildfire… In such a time as this, all we can do is trust our Almighty God to heal the world.. Please do keep us in your prayers and we are doing the same… Regards to all…

    BTW, my youngest son is 3 months old already and his name is ADVIK IMMANUEL… ADVIK means unique…

    Take care… Loads of love n prayers….


    • Becky Dingle says:

      Ambika….Thank you for the update in India…and your precious three little boys…I love Advik Immanuel…how beautiful…can hardly wait to see the man he becomes with such an unique and spiritual name as that. Our prayers are with you…we are all in the same boat…no matter where we live in the world….prayers for humanity and God’s grace.

      Love, Becky


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