A year ago we had some horrendous fires east of us here in Oregon. It burned over 1 million acres, including a lot of my favorite hiking places as it destroyed small towns, upheaved peoples lives, and devastated such a large area.

This last week I participated in a service project at church to help clean up one of the state parks that was affected. We cleaned out burnt logs and plants, weeded camping spots, cleared trails, and replaced new walkways.

Afterwards I drove a bit farther to one of my favorite places that was hit hard. One park next to the Santiam river was totally destroyed and is closed, but I went down a small road on the other side of the river. There I saw whole swaths of burnt forest, houses still being rebuilt, and land that had been cleared after the fires.

As you can see in this picture, although the trees are still bare and burned, grasses, small plants, and bushes have begun growing again. Someday the forest will return.

Life is being renewed. 

In the dictionary, “renew” means to give fresh life or strength to, re-establish something, or resume an activity.

Whenever I am frustrated or experience my own trials I remember things like this and know that I can also be renewed. I can find new strength or enthusiasm or re-establish a positive relationship.

This may be through prayer, scriptures, being out in nature, enjoying time with a friend, meditating, or pondering our priorities in life.

Just like the forest, we can grow once again. It may start off small–just a few small blades of grass or a bush–or a small task, or new goal, but we can grow once again into a mighty forest.

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