My dad recently told me the story of this here tree in our front yard. Aust and I
This tree lived its days right by the sprinkler. It was always given the ingredients it needed to grow. Always right at its
A huge windstorm came through and tipped this big ol' tree over. It was a sad day. I loved that purple tree. My dad was busy for a few weeks and who doesn't want a huge purple bush in their front yard, so he delayed taking the tree out. The tree never died! It just kept living with its rotten trunk and beautiful purple leaves. My dad figured it was a REALLY strong tree that just would do anything to stay alive. So he got his expedition all hooked up to the tree and he was ready for a struggle. He got all situated to lay down the gas peddle but when he started to pull, the tree simply popped out without a fight.
Huh? How could this tree with no fight, live for 2 weeks while being tipped over? My father was astounded. Dumbfounded. He just sat and stared at it for about 20 minutes when the symbolism hit him. He taught me this valuable lesson.
So many of us are just like this tree... Especially where I grew up in Alpine. We are given everything we need and SO much more. Many times without the lift of a baby finger. We are swamped in the water that "helps us to grow" but without the struggle of finding the water for ourselves. Our roots aren't given the opportunity to dig deep and find strength on their own. They are never prompted to grow. When hardship (wind) comes, we fall over because we may not have the roots we need to stay standing. Our parents, family, and friends may rush around us to help support us in all directions, but without the presence of strong, deep roots that we've grown for ourselves through our struggles, the winds have a far better chance of coming out on top.
So often testimonies are this same way. We can only stay standing from the support and testimonies around us for so long. Strength and lasting happiness come when we are able to gain a testimony (more stabilizing roots) of our own. Our leaves may be beautiful and full, just like a beautiful haircut or make-over, but our true beauty is only seen when you, literally, dig deep to see what types of roots we've grown.... to see what strength of inner character we've developed in the face of the winds and adversity we encounter. When I am going through hardships, I want to make the best of them. I don't want to always have the easy way out. I want to try to find joy and inner strength from helping my roots grow. Often times in the world, struggling is looked down on... "wait, you don't have enough money to buy your way out of this trial?"... but I don't feel like it has to be this way. I feel that true beauty and strong character is developed when we see the good and blessings in even the hardest of times. We all struggle. As for me and my house, as difficult as it may seem I'm going to try my hardest to enjoy my trials, or at least parts of my trials.
My father's lesson not only helped me to have a foundation for my talk on the houseboat, but really shaped my ideas for how to raise our kids. Granted, we don't have kids yet, but the time will come soon I'm sure. I want to give them everything they need to survive, feel support, and succeed, but I will let them struggle. As awful as that sounds, because I want their lives to be blossoms, rainbows, and butterflies, I am determined to help my children grow strong roots. I never want them to be unprepared when the strong winds come. We'll see how it goes when we actually have kids, right?
Who knew a tipped over tree teach so much. Thanks Dad. Love you.