My son and I went for a walk today in an oceanfront park in Anacortes, WA, in the San Juan Islands of the Pacific Northwest. Lush green, towering cedar trees and fauna of all kinds surrounded us. This forest receives a lot of precipitation making it a very green sanctuary. Many of the trees were covered with moss and the floor was covered with many varieties of lush plant life, from ferns to fungus. If wet had a scent, this was the place to smell it. My nose was filled with the musty smell of dampness mingled with the sweetness of the flowering plants and tree bark. There was a palate of more than 100 different shades of green, making it the perfect place for a leprechaun to live. In my imagination there were tiny civilizations existing under each toadstool.
Throughout the forests there were huge trees that had fallen over, complete with their root systems intact, creating what appeared to be a series of large round vertical walls. Cedar trees have a very broad horizontal root system, preferring to spread out near the surface, where water and nutrients are easier to find. In a lush paradise like this, it is the perfect ecosystem for happy, well-nurtured cedar trees.
But in their ease in life, herein also lies the problem. Because things come so easily, the trees have no reason to create deeper roots, and instead, spread their roots horizontally just under the surface. When a strong wind or storm blows through the forest, the trees have nothing strong helping them remain upright. Hence, they blow over, ripping their elaborate root system from just under the surface of the ground and sending it skyward, to rest in a vertical position attached to the now horizontal fallen tree.
For it is in our trial and tribulations that we too grow stronger and send our roots deeper into the ground. If we take only what comes easily, and live a superficial life at the surface, like the cedar trees, our roots are shallow and our life has no depth. Without depth in our roots, we easily topple when the winds of adversity blow through our life. We too end up lying on our backs looking skyward, with our roots exposed and vertical to the ground, wondering what happened.
So the next time something in your life isn’t manifesting as easily as you had hoped, know that your roots are growing. If you don’t get the raise you expected or the house you’ve had on the market for 6 months doesn’t sell, just remember, adversity just means that your roots are growing. Know that as you learn and continue to move forward with faith and perseverance, your roots are going deeper and deeper into the earth, to be your stabilizing force in the future. Because of your past experiences, the winds of life won’t easily topple you over.
You know that because of your deep roots you will withstand whatever winds blow your way. The world can walk through the forest of your life and see you standing tall, reaching for the sky, spreading your branches in all directions, growing higher and stronger each day.