I write about trees a lot. Of all the symbols in nature that speak to me, trees speak the loudest. They are the one thing that stands firm and tall regardless of what is going on around them. They are rooted in their truth. They willingly give up their leaves in the fall, withstand the cold and storms of winter, and still put forth buds of new life in the spring. They welcome all who want to live in the protective shelter of their branches, from birds to insects (even the ones who peck at them). All are welcome. They help to clean the air so we can breathe. If they could speak, they would have centuries of history to share with us, and when one of them comes down in a storm, I always feel as if I have lost a member of my family.
When we look at our own lives, how do we compare with the unconditional love that a tree offers us? Do we stand firmly rooted in our truth, in unconditional love, no matter what life throws at us? Are we willing to make sacrifices in order to grow? Do we accept change gracefully? Do we welcome one and all into our world regardless of who they are or where they come from? And when we suffer losses in the storms of our lives, do we stand tall until the storm passes and continue to reach for the sun to renew and sustain us?
I'm not talking about staying rooted in a belief that was never ours to begin with and that no longer serves us, because that would not be our truth, it would be someone else's truth, or our culture's truth. I'm talking about standing firm when it's not always the most popular thing to do, but when we know that it is in our best interest and serves to help us grow as humans into the best version of ourselves that we are capable of being. Often we have to lose people that are dear to us because they cannot accept the changes that are happening to us. They want us to stay the same, but that does not serve us. If the tree did not lose it's leaves in the fall, they would whither and die from the cold anyway. Better to give from our hearts in gratitude for the new and beautiful buds that will come to us in the next stage of our lives.
There are some tall and beautiful spruce trees that stand at the side of our driveway. They have some dents and gaps where branches have taken a hit and become dead wood. Yet every time I stand at the window and look out at those trees, I am filled with a sense of connection to the very foundation on which I build my life. If those beautiful creatures can remain rooted in their purpose, then so can I. It's what the One Who Planted US here had in mind all along.
And so it is.