As we traveled home from dropping my daughter off at her first apartment, we pulled off on a scenic overlook.
High on a hill overlooking the beautiful Lake Superior, the colors were vibrant.. the lake was calm… The whole area was stunning.
Everything was thriving.
Except one tree…
There in the middle of all the green trees.. in the midst of the green grass growing high… right next to one of the largest supplies of fresh water in the world… ??
Right there was a very brown, very dried up tree.. The brown was such a contrast to the greens around it, that you couldn’t help but notice it.
As I snapped a few pictures of it, I wondered what was eating at it. This tree couldn’t thrive in the most optimal environment.. so something had to be eating at it.
I enjoyed the view for another moment and then continued down the hill to the beach below..
The lake was unusually calm.. and it was a beautiful place to take pictures..
As I tried to get artistic with a pile of rocks, my foot came to rest next to a stump in the sand. At first, I thought it was a rock and tried to move it… but it wouldn’t budge.
So I shifted my footing and snapped a picture of it.
A stump… from a tree… that had survived and grown on a sandy beach. No dark rich soil.. No minerals and nutrients… nothing to shelter it from the winds.
As I pushed on the stump again, I could feel how solidly the roots were planted still.
Here was a tree who had lived in an environment full of difficulties and right next to a turbulent body of water.
Yet.. this tree dug its roots down deep.. deep enough to hold on and thrive for a number of years.
Again my attention was drawn to the brown tree on the hill.
So often we are like these trees.
Some of us are planted in fertile soil.. in a beautiful environment… with so many blessings…
And yet… we let things eat at us. Anger.. disappointment… something from our past that we feel like we can’t let go of… Something that has a deep hold on us..
But those things eat at our roots.. and steal the joy from our lives if we let them control us.
When we let those things go?
When we let them go.. they can’t control us anymore. And we can thrive…
I have met a number of people in my life… who are like the stump on the beach. Some of them were parents of kiddos with extreme special needs. Some were people with the most horrific childhoods.. Some survived diseases.. some survived without parents…
But they ALL survived…
What stood out about these people?
They stood on the shores of those turbulent waves… they dug their roots down deep…
..and they survived…
They didn’t JUST survive.. With smiles on their faces.. and counting their blessings … and reaching out to help others… They were thriving…
I snapped a couple more pictures and thought about my daughter that we just dropped off at college.. I thought about my son that stood there beside me… We have no idea what the future holds for either of them. We have no idea where the future will take either of them…
A smile came to my face as I whispered a prayer for them.
My prayer? … as I sat there in the sand?
My prayer for my kids is that they will thrive wherever they are planted …
… my smile?
My smile is because I believe they will…