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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Parable of the Tall, Tall Tree

There was a small village, and on the edge of town it held a small park. This park was filled with mighty pecan trees. The people from the town would come out to the park to harvest the pecans, and they would sit the in shade of the mighty trees to rest when they were done.

In a clearing in the very center of the park was a small pecan tree. She barely even looked like a tree, she practically disappeared when the grass needed mowing. It's a miracle she didn't get cut down. She would watch as the people came and went, enjoying the fruit and the shade of the mighty trees all around her. She decided that she, too, needed to be tall and mighty. Each day, she invested all of her energy into growing taller and taller. She grew fast enough that she did not get mowed down, and the people in the village marveled at how fast and how tall she grew. In just a few years she was able to produce pecans and provide the people with shade. She became the favorite tree for the children, who loved to play tag and use her strong trunk as "base", a safe place where one would never get tagged "out" or "frozen" or whatever the rules were for the variety of tag that the children chose that day. There was also a young couple who chose her shade for their picnics. They had visited her on their first date, and their relationship had blossomed until now they were married and expecting their first child.

She loved being strong and tall. She loved providing pecans for the people from the village. The villagers loved her in return. All was well until one day when a child slammed into her trunk, shouting "home base"! She felt a tremor that went to her very core. This frightened the still young, yet very tall tree. Something was not right.

Soon, she began to notice that she wasn't producing as many pecans in the fall, or as many leaves in the spring. In fact, she had stopped growing altogether. It seemed that she would never grow any taller.

One night, a mighty storm came through the village. The children were safe at home with their parents, and the young couple was at home, soothing their crying newborn. The tree stood tall in that storm, until the wind began to blow, harder and harder. She felt that same tremor again, just as she had when the young child had touched her. Suddenly, she felt a loud snap, and, much to her horror, she crashed to the ground. The townspeople heard it from inside their homes, it was so loud.

The next morning, they all came out to check on their beloved tree. She was devastated, embarrassed, even, for them to see her this way. The townspeople were heartbroken because they loved this tree.

They called in some forestry experts to see what had gone wrong. The experts were quite surprised at what they found.
"This tree has almost not roots!" they said. "A tree this tall should have roots stretching deep and far to help it gain nourishment and to anchor it to the ground."

The tree had been in such a hurry to grow tall and mighty. She had not saved energy to make sure that her roots grew deep and strong.

Fortunately for her, the townspeople loved her enough to help her recover. They reburied what roots she had left. They fed the soil around her, and they propped her up with supports to keep her from toppling while she healed. They trimmed some of the larger branches so that she could focus more energy on her roots.

The tree knew she had lots of work to do, as well. She stopped trying to make so many pecans. She stopped growing taller altogether. Instead, she focused all of her energy on her roots. She grew them deep, she grew them wide. She grew stronger each day, but at her own, slow pace, until her branches matched her roots and  no storm would ever be a match for the strength that she had, both above ground and under the earth.

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