The book of Proverbs draws an analogy using wisdom as a woman who is sought after by others. One part of the scripture passage says “She is a tree of life to them.”
A famous photo taken by Consuela Kanaga in 1950 shows a mother with two children tenderly nestled beside her. Consuela named this picture after the Proverb, using the exact same phrase for its title: “She Is A Tree Of Life To Them.”
Caring mothers are indeed a tree of life to their offspring. Sons and daughters consult “Mom” for everything from cooking and cleaning tips to insights on the deepest mysteries of life. Doctors, emergency workers, and soldiers tell us that people going through trauma call out for their mothers nearly universally.
Some might say that Mrs. Kanaga took the Proverb out of context when she applied it to her photo. After all, Solomon was talking about the wisdom that comes from God, not about a female parent. Then again, maybe the two are not so far apart.
Happy Mother’s Day.
(Here is the photo, as seen on the Los Angeles County Museum Of Art web site – http://www.lacma.org/art/TreeofLife.aspx.
It is used without permission. If I’ve violated any copyrights, let me know and I’ll take it down.)