“The wise are mightier than the strong, and those with knowledge grow stronger and stronger.”
Check out this tree.
Hubby and I recently went canoeing on a local river, and we were soaking up the sun and sounds and sensations when I spotted this oddball.
All of the other trees around it were of similar regular shape – one trunk, tapered from bottom to top.
Not this gem.
At some point, it must have endured something tough. A lightning strike. A battle with bugs or disease. A moose nibbling on its tender twigs. Whatever it was, it caused the growth point to stop growing. And with that painful occurrence, the tree switched into overdrive.
It redirected its energy into finding a new leader. (A ‘leader’ in tree terms is the main stem that is the tippy top of the tree.)
And it did such a good job that not two but three trunks were the result.
That thing is massive. Maybe sixty feet tall. And the top third is standing proud in triplicate.
See, life taught that tree to do what it does best – grow. And not only grow, but adapt to circumstances beyond its control, to respond to pain and hardship by getting stronger.
What are you doing with the knowledge you are gaining from your pain?
Are you allowing it to create flexibility? Hone your problem-solving skills? Create something new in place of the old?
It’s hard to walk through pain.
I know. Trust me.
It’s even harder to set aside your need to have things fixed, and just allow the experience you gain to mold you into a new and more magnificent shape.
This tree could have given up. It could have remained stunted. It could have stopped growing altogether. It could have eyed the other trees in envy and become bitter.
Instead, it became better.
It stands out in a crowd. It is unique. It brings a story and a flavour to the forest that wouldn’t have been there otherwise. Oh, I’m sure if it could talk, it might tell you it wished things had been different.
But I would never have noticed it if it had looked like every other tree.
Think about that for a moment.
Are you a standout because of your story?
Are you willing to do life a little differently than you had planned?
Can you see the potential of embracing a new way of seeing the world with the experiences you are gaining?
I am in no way minimizing pain and the burdens you bear by insisting you shortcut the grieving process or ignore your emotions. I’m just reminding you that at the end of your journey is something unexpected. Something beautiful.
The truth is, we are like this tree. We can choose to live around the wound, to take on a new form as we heal. Or we can choose to remain shut down, growing bitter rather than better. We have the potential to tell a story of grace and power and resilience when we humbly allow our experiences to make us strong.
See the power of handling pain wisely with me?
Father, thank You for this tree. Thank You for the lessons it teaches us about resilience, and strength of character. Help us to be wise in our approach to dealing with life experiences that are difficult. Amen.