I bounce back with a little help from my friends.
Last September, a category 4 hurricane blew through our town. It was catastrophic. Whole buildings were destroyed, boats sunk, roofs were gone and of course, trees were uprooted and knocked over everywhere.
Over the last six months since the storm, it’s been incredible to observe the cleanup and healing process. Slowly, buildings are getting patched up and reroofed. More quickly, plants and trees have carried on, sprouting new growth and filling back in. It’s been a stark reminder of how committed living things are to growing and thriving. And of how we all – even the trees – need one another to do it.
The picture on the left (above) is of a tree a few blocks from my home. I’m not sure the picture does justice to how big this tree really is. When upright, it was probably three or four stories high. How many years did this tree stand in that spot before the storm came along and knocked it sideways? It got lifted almost completely out of the ground. And yet… look. It’s still carrying on living and growing as much as it can. This tree’s incredible natural resilience, it’s commitment to living, is evident as it sprouts new growth on its still-rooted side.
When I spotted the tree on a walk last week, I found myself marveling at it’s resilience.
I began to wonder – how long will it take for this tree to be fully alive again if no one stands it back up? What will the process look like for this tree to adapt to its new shape and a fresh set of roots after such a massive shift?
The above observations made me think of the times that I felt a bit like this tree – knocked down by something I didn’t see coming or couldn’t stop. It made me think about getting back up, about how getting knocked down is often not an end, but a new beginning.
It also made me think about what a difference it makes when someone else is willing to help pull me up when I’m down.
The picture on the right (above) is a mango tree in our backyard. It’s one of our favorites and was also knocked down in the storm. Our neighbor came over a few days later and pulled it back up, providing supports to help it heal and rest as it recovered. Six months later, it’s full of baby mangoes! This tree not only stayed alive, but has already begun bearing fruit again. In fact, much more than the fruit it bore last year.
Over the last few years, there has been a lot of talk about resilience.
As we all went through the pandemic together, we learned a lot about surviving, even thriving through the hard times. In many ways, we are still bouncing back. We’ve all experienced life come along and knock us down every now and then. As I look at my beautiful and thriving mango tree, it is such a good reminder that I don’t have to live life being afraid of falling down. Storms are part of life, but so is helping each other back up.
How have you been propped back up after falling down?
Who might need you right now to recover from a fall?
Just a little food for thought.