This past week, I glanced out my window to a scene of pouring rain, billowing wind, and a darkened sky. After several weeks of pleasant, sunny weather, we encountered the first real storm of the season. Of course, the rain was welcomed — not only do our plants need the liquid, but I knew I wouldn’t mind bundling up inside, listening to the raindrops jump across my roof. So, I did just that: finished some homework, drank a cup of tea, and snuggled beneath a blanket as the wind shrieked outside.
Given the year that we’ve all endured, metaphorical storms have been frequent in our lives. There are days when we wake up and everything is shaking around us, threatening to crumble and dissolve. Sometimes we can see them in the future, like a weather forecast, and other times, they take us by surprise. Unlike a real storm, we often cannot stay indoors and avoid the rain. We have to face it head-on.
So how do we respond to these storms, especially if they are out of our control? There is no specific way to react. Rather, I have a few words of advice.
In a storm, be like a tree.
Yes, it’s true — trees often come crashing down in storms, blocking off the street or breaking through a fence. Generally, though, trees take storms in stride. As the rain batters their branches and sways them side to side, they move with the wind until the worst is over. They may lose a few branches and leaves, but usually, the trunk and roots are still there. In time, its branches will repair and its leaves will regrow, and the tree will be whole again.
I have tried to take this mentality into my life. Like a tree, I have been blown this way and that and lost a few branches, but I can still stand tall and face the problems at hand. Recently, I could feel the raindrops of stress pattering on my face. I woke up with a question on my mind: what will I do to get through this? Looking outside my window, I was greeted by the redwood tree in my yard. Giant, tall, and majestic, it had once been struck by lightning, burning nearly thirty feet off of its top. Regardless, it was still standing and was the tallest tree for miles. If that redwood could do it, I could too. So I took a deep breath, smiled, and found my roots. I was able to get through it and come out on the other end stronger than ever.
Inevitably, life will attempt to tear us down. It will batter us and try to break us. In acting like a tree and stretching our branches to the sun, we can see the positive and reach for it. We can grow each and every day, flourishing in even the darkest of storms.
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Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky.”
― Kahlil Gibran
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