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Be Like a Tree and ... Influence

Updated: Feb 14, 2021

There is a lot we can learn from trees. One thing: you can influence your environment even when you are stuck.

Trees have fascinated me since I was a little girl. The strength, the growth, the colors, the varieties, the fruit, the seeds. All of the different aspects of trees, as well as the tree in its entirety, capture my attention. I am riveted still to this day by the wonders encapsulated in a tree.

I mention this to point out that something even as mundane and ordinary as a tree has special significance. From the beginning of its life to its end, a tree has purpose. Its purpose is determined in part by what type of tree it is (e.g. an apple tree or an oak) and in part by where it is located at the time it is located there. A lone tree in an open field provides shade for the land beneath it. A tree in the midst of a forest on a mountain helps to hold up the mountain side from the rain that would wash it away otherwise.

Likewise, your purpose relates in part to who you are singularly and to the part you play collectively with the world and those in the world you are connected with - or can become connected with.

The analogy of the tree holds another metaphor. The tree itself is placed where it's at, and it cannot get up and walk away from where it is. Similarly, God has placed us where and when "we are" - referring to the time and location of our birth - and there is nothing we can do to change that (despite claims and stories of time machines).

Additionally, parts of trees spread out to a broader range than the tree itself can reach. Leaves fall. Birds eat the seeds and deposit them sometimes miles away. Branches are cut down and used to make furniture. Etcetera. In other words, a tree's reach is far beyond it's immediate boundaries. So too with you.

Your reach and influence are often farther than you can see or sometimes even know.

Keep that in mind as you live out your day, and especially at times when you feel stuck. Just being stuck, in and of itself, does not necessarily mean that you are not having a positive impact somehow or somewhere. You can grow and change right where you are.

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