The Giving Tree

"Whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. What is soft is strong." – Lao Tzu

When I was growing up, I had a willow tree in my big Texas back yard. It's branches were more like vines which I would grasp and swing on. Afterward, I would lie in the shade and allow the tips of the green leaves to brush my face. I loved this tree so much that when I discovered "my tree" was in the beloved book, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, I checked it out from the library and absentmindedly never returned it.

When my own son was born, I began to read the book to him. In life, I tell him, we want to be like that tree. Strong and not blown over or distracted by every shiny object that comes our way. The roots and trunk give it stability, it's branches flexibility and the leaves mobility. And, in all ways, we should strive to be adaptable to the seasons of our life.

The tree never protested but always gave. I wonder if I did a little less stomping of my feet and demanding that the trees in my life give me more and more, I would be more calm. What strikes me most about a tree is there is no protest. There is only acceptance, adaptation to the changes in the environment, and largely integration.

Have you ever seen how when another plant (or object) comes in contact with a tree, it will just grow around it or become part of the tree? All of this happens over time. Not today, not tomorrow but with time.

What if we looked at the events in our life with a long lens. It's the difference between pushing our life and yielding to it. There is grace and strength in the yielding.


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