The other day, as we were walking through a botanical garden, Eric pointed out a tree to me. This particular tree was about two or three feet in diameter and had obviously had some kind of terrible thing happen to it, for it was uprooted and the roots stuck out of the ground at one end.
But–for whatever reason– it had kept growing. It almost looked like an elbow or a knee joint, with half of the tree lying horizontally on the ground, but the other half somehow making a ninety degree angle and taking an incredible turn upwards towards the sky.
I don’t think either of us have ever seen anything quite like it (see my photo above). And, once again, we are awed by God’s creation and also its adaptability.
It made me think about humans and how adaptable some of us are. And also about how unadaptable some of us are.
Bad things–hard circumstances–toxic environments–difficult moments happen to us all. None of us are immune. And we have days or months–sometimes years– where we lie there with our roots sticking out all over the place, flat on the ground, catching our breath and trying to heal or maybe just survive.
But we all–just like that tree– should start growing upwards again. We shouldn’t just lie there forever.
Of course, part of that tree will always be lying flat against the ground. It has become part of what it is. It didn’t magically dig its roots back in the soil and lift up its entire trunk upwards. No, instead, very slowly, just a little each year, it started growing upwards.
We need to do that same thing. We can’t eliminate our scars. But we can make sure that we are growing the right direction. It will be a slow process– no doubt about that.
And it is a choice. A choice to think the right thoughts and do the right things. It is a choice to turn away from bitterness and unforgiveness and anger. It is a choice to forgive and to love so that you can start growing in the right direction again. And, most of all, it is the choice to yield our wills and desires to our heavenly Father’s, the One who knows everything.
We will all probably be knocked flat on our back at some time or other. The key is growing back in the right direction.