I went Fall leaf-peeping last week
in the mountains of North Carolina
and on one of the beautiful morning
walks I took with my husband,
we came upon this crooked tree.
The Awkward Tree
Right next to it was the trunk
of a large tree, with most of the rest
of it fallen to the ground.
Meaning that this awkward looking tree,
with the big bend in it,
most likely grew this way
in the shadow of this much larger tree,
no longer standing next to it.
Looking at this funny, bent tree…
it got me thinking.
The Awkward Person
Some people are like this bent tree.
I meet people like this all the time.
We might all be like this tree in some ways.
We grow and develop in different ways,
depending on our environment and we are
greatly influenced by circumstances and
certain events that happen in our lifetimes.
Especially traumatic events.
But even non-traumatic events, like being the
oldest child or the youngest or the middle child.
Being the child of successful parents, or parents
who speak a different language.
Being the child of poverty or of affluence…
all create an environment in which people
grow according to their circumstances.
There are certain things we can do in some
places that we can’t in others.
Like this tree which grew sideways because
the light was being blocked by a larger tree,
growth is still possible.
When things are twisted or bent,
instead of seeing damage or distortion,
maybe it’s possible to celebrate survival
in less than ideal circumstances.
Bent, But Not Broken
When people survive childhoods that were less
than ideal with personality issues or addictions
that are problems in adulthood, maybe it’s possible
to start from that place of celebrating survival
before we condemn the coping skills the person
developed in order to survive.
Many people are bent, but not broken.
Just like this beautiful tree.