Life lessons from an almost dead tree

Posted April 24 2024
“Darn,” I cursed. The tree had died, for we had forgotten to dutifully nurture it. I feverishly raced to get a bucket of water. Dousing the parched earth that supported the resolute death stick, a part of me knew my efforts were in vain. But just like that dead stick, I refused to concede it was all over.

And then I did. Accepting that this was not the best use of my time. Or my heart. For the tree was long gone, and if that water I had just poured had no chance of reviving it, my tears would have had even less so.

Reflecting that planting a water-thirsty tree in the heat of summer is not the wisest of moves, I made a mental note to be more astute next time around. And then I went back to my life and forgot about the tree.

Until recently.

“Oh darn.” How disrespectful, I mused, as I spied a pile of marshmallow weeds that had commandeered the plot that was once the home of my tree. With a sense of guilt still sitting in my soul for allowing the tree to die, I moved in to evict the weeds.

“But wait. Hey, what?” On closer inspection, that flurry of green around my defiant dead stick was not weeds at all – far from them, in fact. No, what spawned out before my delighted eyes was the majesty of vibrant and succulent new life.

“My tree is still alive!” I uttered in tones of joyous hallelujah.

Pruning off the deadness that was the stick, lest it rob that new life of nutrients, I took great heart that I had not removed it earlier. For now, in that place, was another incarnation of that would-be tall tree. A stouter and no doubt hardier version, and one that will be better suited to offering shadiness for the pigs.

And now the learnings…

Remember, life is a long game, and while the short wins are great, they are just that — short.

Plant according to the season. This does not necessarily apply only to plants! Sometimes in life, when things seem dead, do not overburden yourself with the task of resurrecting them.

Accept that there is a natural cycle to things — friendships, where you live, or your beliefs, just to name a few. The trick is to know when to prune off things in your life that no longer serve you. This will allow something greater to take the space.

Use your energies wisely. While it is great to be spontaneous, it does pay to plan ahead, even just a little. Direct your energies to grow the most fruit. And it is okay to change your sail.

Remember, life is a long game, and while the short wins are great, they are just that, short.

It is never too late to plant a tree. Just make sure you pick the right season.

We serve the world best when we create shade and shelter for others. To make the most of this, just know where and when to put down the roots. Don’t forget you may need to change the location or wait for another season.

Know that whilst you may not always see things growing and changing before your eyes, they are. They are exactly where they need to be, doing what needs to be done. And so are you – always look for the learnings.

And for you dear reader, please remember things grow best in the garden of your heart. But most of all, when planting seeds of change and growth, do so wisely. And whether you plant them in soil or in minds, it helps best if the fields are fertile.

However, do not worry if they are not, for your seeds can make them so. Water them well and watch the seeds of your kindness grow.