Have you ever walked through the woods or forest and really looked at trees? Gazing at the unusual and distinct tree trunks in my woodsy backyard, I realized how their shape or their bent reflected their life story.
One tree I noticed in particular, was bent over from a storm that blew through. Amazingly, the tree continues to grow. I noticed that the tree’s new pose was deeply bent over but slightly pointed now upward from the bend looking toward the sunlight streaming through the trees.
Such fragility, I thought, such tenacity. The tree continued growing. In our own human fragility, we sometimes become bent over from the storms in our lives and the weight of living with grief, caring for a special needs child, caring for an elderly parent or spouse, watching a spouse suffer and slowly leave us. Other storms could be financial setbacks, divorce, job loss, health issues, depression or anything that weighs us down. These are heavy things that change us.
A certainty we come to know in life is that heavy, unexpected storms blow through our lives. We will certainly be called to bear heavy things. Our broken world means we will not get out of this world without a broken heart, a broken, home, broken bones, or broken dreams.
Maybe a lesson from the bent tree is to remind us that when storms blow through our imperfect lives, we are meant to live with the same tenacity we see in nature. In our bent overness, if we reach for the light our eventual straightening may be designed to let others see what is possible as they see that our sorrows, disappointments, and brokeness, caused us to turn towards the light and to grow.
Our imperfections, the places that were hurt, damaged or broken that caused us to bend over imperfectly after the storm- what if we could see those broken, bent, places as unique or even beautiful? What if our new growth looks even more beautiful because our tenacity to continue growing has bent us toward hope and to the Light?
Just as the trees that have weathered storms and it adds to their story, our brokenness or imperfections have added to our life story and may be seen as opportunities to share with others how to strive and thrive even in our bent overness as we reach upward for the Light.
God comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 2 Corinthians 1:4