– Cindrella Prakash

I don’t find dogs cute. Nor do I find cats or fishes pretty. I don’t even find lizards yucky. There’s probably something terribly wrong with me to be so indifferent, I think. But anyway, I do love watching sunsets and trees. The colors, the way the leaves sway to the music of the breeze, the way the leaves look when they dance off the branches….there’s something poetic about it all. I like watching ’em.
There are two trees that have caught my fancy lately. They’re tall with a rather thin bark and even thinner branches. Some may say they’re malnourished. I’ve lived in my current house for 25 odd years and I see these trees as I go in and out every day. To be honest, there’s nothing stereotypically beautiful about these trees. They have only one season of leaves in the monsoons and the rest of the time, they just look incredibly empty. Vacant. Withered. Almost dead. But it’s at this time that the tree gives birth to flowers. Red petals on brown branches. Still empty, still vacant, still withered but not dead.

Let me take you back in time. There was another tree and on it hung a man – ugly, naked, a bloodied mess, almost dead. There was nothing stereotypically beautiful about this Person. I’m pretty sure there were many people who shut their eyes to this scene that day. They must’ve denied something this gory could happen. The pure ghastliness of this crime site must’ve been repulsive to many. But history marks that Man’s life with BC and AD. The horrific death of Jesus spells redemption for our sin. That which looked barren brought forth the most searched answer for all of mankind, the forgiveness to our sin. That which looked ugly was in fact the epitome of selfless love and unsolicited grace. When the world thought Christ was of no use is when the world needed Him the most.
I’m told I usually come across as a very confident and courageous person. To be honest though, I’m far from it. I’m average looking and short, I’m not as educated as most people these days are, I don’t work in a glamorous job in any MNC and though I have skills but my laziness got in the way of excelling in them. A little more than a year back, I struggled with a low self esteem but mastered to mask it. I could easily keep my nerves to myself no matter how petrified I was. I would lie about not having stage fright all the time even though my knees were shivering. I suffered with very low self-worth and also from the need to get people’s approval. Since I didn’t fit into the stereotypical definition of beauty and/or brains, the self-confidence in me was almost dead. And then I met Jesus, again.  He reminded me that I am 1) made in God’s image….and that can never ever be ugly 2) when Jesus died on Calvary, it was His way of saying that no matter how unconventional I was/am/will be, He loved me enough to die for me…once and forever 3) I no longer need to search for beauty outside and needn’t worry for approval as my identity was embedded on the cross – ONE WHO’S LOVED. My almost dead confidence now skyrockets. The assurance of being loved on a daily basis is comforting. The realization that JC never regrets His decision of loving me is re-assuring. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still imperfect and sinful but I am forever loved and approved of.

I’m very sure none of us are in a perfect state of life right now. I’m sure there are parts of our lives that look almost dead. Jesus can bring them back to life even when they are almost dead.