The great ice storm of about six winters past broke many of the branches of the tree that draped to the ground like a fine lady’s long skirt. Some of the limbs lay across power lines and had to be trimmed. What was left was only a trunk, like a tall totem pole, absent the carvings that tell a family’s history. My husband got out the chain saw and cut it back to four feet off the ground. He made a circular cut around the base of the tall stump and another cut across the diameter to keep it from growing.
“It’s too cold out there and more snow is moving in. I’ll finish taking it out this spring,” he said as he started upstairs to take a hot shower.
A few months later, when the crocuses reached from beneath the soil and pushed their painted petals to the surface, the weeping willow refused to cry. It started sprouting new branches from the flat surface of the stump. Now, half a dozen years later, there are fourteen or fifteen branches on the oddly shaped tree. In the first few summers, when it was full of leaves, it looked like a very large weeping willow bush. Now, the branches threaten the power lines once again, like the tree is either mocking the injury it had received, or reaching toward Heaven in a beautiful wind-blown dance of life.
Do you let injury and hardship rob you of your ability to dance? Are you stuck in your life or in your career? Have things continually not worked out as you had hoped? Do you withhold the beauty of new branches in your life when you needs pruning? Are you afraid to become a different kind of tree?
My husband is a minister so we have moved frequently. I have held many jobs that I have loved and have had to resign because we moved . . . and then we moved . . . and moved . . . and moved again. But, God has not let this tree die. He continues to send out new branches and has blessed me with stories to tell. I love my life as an author as much as my life as a psychologist or teacher.
Choose to start again every time the ice storms come. Write a new story. Paint a new picture. Build an heirloom cabinet out of the tree trunk in the yard. Give up weeping and join the dance of life.
Doris Gaines Rapp
Prayer Therapy of Jesus
Waiting for Jesus in a Can’t Wait World
Hiawassee – Child of the Meadow
Smoke from Distant Fires
Escape from the Belfry
Length of Days – The Age of Silence
Lincoln’s Christmas Mouse