Wednesday, October 13, 2004

If you were a tree, what kind would you be? 

I was talking today about natural disasters with a friend, Adriana. Since she is an architect, the conversation naturally turned to the importance of the construction of a building in how well it weathers a storm. Earthquakes are the primary natural disaster in this area so Adriana explained that for a building to survive them it is important that the construction not be either too weak or too rigid. If it is too weak, it falls apart. So it might seem like the best thing to do would be to create a very strong building with lots of reinforcements and the best concrete blocks held together by the strongest cement. But she went on to explain that a rigid construction runs the risk of cracking so the perfect building is an equilibrium between strength and flexibility.

This strikes me as very helpful reminder. Storms will come in life and the key to weathering them well is balancing strength and flexibility in my character, belief systems, etcetera. My tendency is to think that “firming up” my self-discipline, or my knowledge, for example is what will get me though the hard times, but talking with Adriana I was reminded that a resulting rigidity could be counterproductive. Yes I need to develop more strength in character, conviction and completion of tasks but those qualities need to be complemented by flexibility.

I have always loved palm trees. I love their shape. I love them for their association with all things beachy. And now I am reminded that I have admired them for their strength and flexibility, for the way they can survive hurricane winds where a more rigid tree would snap or be pulled out by the roots. Lord, please help me become more like a palm tree, able to stand firm yet adapt to the winds of change that blow through my life.

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