The Tree Grew ‘Round


Life is hard. It is what it is. There’s really no changing the way the earth spins on it’s axis or altering the person who lives in the house next door. You’re going to face hard times. I don’t care who you are, how much money you have, or how many people love you, you’re going to have disappointments in this life. You’re going to encounter obstacles in the road. It’s just the way it is, and if you haven’t had any troubles as of yet, well, just keep on living, because every elderly person on the planet can attest to this truth: Life is not always easy, and sometimes, we have to “weather through the storm.”

The question is not, “Will trials ever come?” The better question is, “What will I do when the rains do come?” If you can ever answer that question before the rains come, you will be much better suited to survive. It’s like building a shelter to be safe from the elements when you’re sleeping outside. If you build the shelter before you lie down to sleep, you’re sure to get some moments of restful sleep; however, if you never build the shelter, then, you’re left to survive whatever elements may come. The rains may come, but if you have a little shelter, it makes the night a little easier to endure.

Sometimes, in life, you’re just going to find yourself caught between a “rock and a hard place.” The rock won’t move, and the hard place won’t remove itself. Maybe it’s the day you woke up late for your new job, and your nine month old baby woke up with a stomach virus, or maybe you were laid off after just buying that brand new car. Maybe your mom has been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, and your dad began showing signs of dementia last month. Maybe your oldest son has been struggling with a hidden drug addiction, trying to sneak around, stealing money from your nightstand, and your youngest daughter has been bullied at the new school. Maybe your husband seems to be distant, and you just can’t seem to find enjoyment in any of the past delights you two once had. There are times in life when you wish it could be different. You find yourself between a rock and a hard place. You wonder what you’re going to do, how are you ever going to make it?

In that moment, you have a choice to make. You can choose to stop, to hesitate, to allow the circumstances, those hard things, to stunt your growth and keep you from reaching your destiny. You can let that rock hinder you from reaching your dreams. You can even “fold over” on top of yourself and never move beyond where you were in that moment of crisis. Or, you can choose to press forward. You can choose to be like the tree in this picture that refused to be dwarfed by the rock in the path. You can choose to allow those tough spots to make you stronger, more resilient to the pain. You can choose to find joy in the little things, blessings in those people who surround you in that moment of heartache, and even, just peace in the gentle breeze that blows or warmth in the sun that shines. You can choose to grow ’round that rock that crept into your path on your way to greatness.

We all have choices which hold us back from our destiny or propel us toward our dreams. It’s up to us to choose, and when we make that choice of forward determination, our lives will be better for it. Let’s be those whose “life tree” may have twists and turns, bends and curves, but whose branches still reach around those hard places up toward the sky.