"The Shedding Tree"
There is a forest near my home
Where through the ages trees have grown.
Tall and mighty, towards the sky
these trees have grown to please the eye.
But though they're tall and heaven bound
their roots are shallow in the ground.
They grow too quickly to give thought
to the parts that eyes see not.
For many years the trees stand tall
but just one storm can cause their fall.
And when they finally hit the ground
they split and crack with thundering sound.
And so their growth is all for naught
and all their wood is left to rot.
Now here we learn a lesson true:
that looks and status will not do.
Though fame and glory we adore
to grow up strong we need much more.
Another tree stands near my home
out in a field, it's all alone.
It is not pleasing to the eye
it's wind-worn, crooked, all awry.
But there it stands, still in its prime
this tree has stood the test of time.
While other's grew up tall and fair
this tree grew with much more care.
It knew that storms would come its way
and so it readied for that day.
When autumn came it shed its leaves
and saved its strength for greater need.
Though unattractive, cold, and bare
this tree shed its worldly care.
It grew deep roots that none could see
and through the storms they held that tree.
And when the spring had come again
it bloomed once more with pink and red.
So when it comes to you and me
often we're not much to see.
But life is not about the fruits,
more important are the roots.
Be the best that you can be
by growing like the shedding tree.
Love your little, crooked arm,
your messed up hair, your lack of charm.
You don't have to please the rest
you just have to be your best.
Grow up honest, strong, and true
but most important, just be you.
I wrote this poem two weeks before the end of my mission. It is my witness of the reality of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
"Whom Shall I Send?"
My head was high, my smile proud
My heart was hard, my laughter loud.
I loved myself, and me alone
My brother lacked, I had a throne.
I saw him lonely, with a frown
To build me up, I tore him down.
I laughed and mocked his lonely stare
The pain I caused I did not care.
The praise of man, my only goal
Caused me to lie, destroyed my soul.
To change my ways, I had no thought
In my own eyes I had a lot.
I spent my life on useless things
I gave my all to worldly dreams.
Then came the day when all was lost
With nothing left I felt the cost.
The pain was great, my soul was racked
I lost my strength, my body slacked.
I fell upon my knees to pray
"Dear God" I said "take me away.
I see my sin, I cannot bear
To stand beneath thy piercing stare.
I never knew such dreadful pain
But this I know: I am to blame.
Take me now and seal my fate
I can't be saved, it is too late."
Then in my mind I saw a tree
With olive leaves, Gethsemane.
I saw a man on bended knee
His head hung low, I heard His plea:
"Thy will be done, not mine" He said
And then He fell, His body bled.
From every pour how great the pain!
I heard His voice, He called my name.
I looked and saw another tree
Up on a hill called Calvary.
I saw Him there up through the fog
The Son of Man, the Son of God.
The King of Kings, a crown of thorns
With nothing more was He adorned.
I looked at Him, He looked at me
And then to God, I heard His plea:
"It is now done, I've paid the cost
That this poor soul will not be lost.
I've done the work thou gavest me
Now take my spirit back to thee."
His head hung down and then He died
With nail-marked hands and wounded side.
Back on my knees I changed my plea:
"How could this all have been for me?
I am not worthy of thy love
Thou art so great, the God above."
And then the voice I heard before:
"I came to earth among the poor.
The broken heart I came to mend
I am He whom God did send.
To show the world He loved it so
I told my Father 'I will go.'"
"Oh Lord my God I know it's true
You really lived and suffered too.
But if the price was really paid
And if you suffered on that day
Why must I still feel such pain?
What victory does my suffering gain?"
Another voice came in reply
My Heavenly Father told me why.
He said "My son, I called you here
To feed my sheep and have no fear.
You had to know what Christ went through
I have a work for you to do.
But pride had filled your foolish heart
And you could not fulfill your part.
Your head was high, your smile proud
Your heart was hard, your laughter loud.
You loved yourself and you alone
Your brother lacked, you had a throne.
You saw him lonely, with a frown
To build yourself, you tore him down.
You laughed and mocked his lonely stare
The pain you caused you did not care.
The praise of man, your only goal
Caused you to lie, destroyed your soul.
To change your ways you had no thought
In your own eyes you had a lot.
You spent your life on useless things
You wasted all on worldly dreams.
You are my servant and my son
There is a battle to be won.
I have some sheep for you to find
They lost their way, got left behind.
They need to know what Christ went through
And so to find them I sent you.
I need your might, your mind, your strength
I need a heart that has been changed.
So one last time I'll ask again
To these lost sheep, whom shall I send?"
"Oh Lord, my God, I love thee so
To find thy sheep, I will go.
I give thee all, my very will
I am so small, I know that still.
But now I know what Christ went through
For Him, O Lord, I'll go and do."
My name is Jordan Michael Anderson. My life's mission is to do as much good as possible.