While travelling along the Spanish Town by-pass recently, my friend expressed her love for a particular tree. It was odd, because – the tree – although surrounded by many others which were ‘fruitful’ and laden with leaves – was bare. It was huge, with many branches, but no leaves – and stood as a startling reminder of ‘death in the midst of life’.
I smiled and asked her why she was so attracted to the tree; but she had no real reason to offer.
So I shared the following story with her:
Years ago, while living in Eastwood Park Gardens, in St. Andrew, a lovely Ackee tree stood just outside the entrance to my apartment and provided shade, as well as a good supply of the fruit. Well, it did, until Hurricane Ivan passed through in 2004.
With the passage of the hurricane, the tree was torn down and we had to cut away the branches, just to make a path to walk. Finally, all that was left was a huge trunk that was too big to cut and too heavy to haul away. It stayed that way for almost 2 years.
Every now and again I would notice small green shoots coming from different sections of the stump. But, after awhile – the shoots died. Over time, the appearances became more frequent, but the results were the same.
Then came a prolonged period of showers lasting several days. When the showers ceased, to my amazement – there were several green shoots all over the stump. I watched in amazement over time, as the shoots became branches, and the branches grew leaves and then … new fruit appeared.
I lived at the premises for another four years following the hurricane, and saw a new tree emerge from what was a stump lying flat on the ground – and I was again able to pick from its fruits.
The experience has stayed with me, and the memory of that fallen Ackee tree came so readily back to me as my friend expressed her admiration for the ‘barren’ tree.
You see, the Ackee tree was struck down, but – even as it laid bare and flat on the ground – some of its roots were still anchored.
It took time and favourable circumstances – but remaining connected and anchored at the roots – it was yet able to regain LIFE!
Sometimes we face situations that knock us down. Sometimes, life sends us blows that leave us flat on the ground. Sometimes, we are exposed and – for a period – even barren. Yet, there’s a lesson in that Ackee tree and a lesson in that huge one that sits magnificent – but (seemingly) barren amidst many others that are (seemingly) flourishing! Yes – it may have looked like a ‘stump’ (after all, that’s all I could see) – but, it was still a tree!
Don’t give up! Keep your roots anchored! Hold on! Have Faith! Believe in your dreams! Believe in you! Your current circumstances may not seem favourable – BUT – your best is yet to come…
Walk good, ’til next time …