Words of Hope: Brave the Wind

Driving through a beautiful college campus, I notice several ugly tree stumps in the middle of the landscaped meridian. They jut sideways with sharp points. I remember these trees. The trees, though flowering and covered in blossoms for spring and bright colored leaves in fall needed to be removed because they were leaning toward the ground and growing in the wrong direction. When the trees were first growing, the gardeners failed to secure the trees with stakes and ropes to train the tree upward and to protect it against the wind.  

I think about how any new endeavor needs protection and guidance for it to last. Dad focused on four key components of life: physical, mental, relational, and spiritual. They all interweave and influence the other. The more tensile the life component, the greater resilience in hardship. The more fragile, the more stakes, the more protection and care is needed.  

Because my emotions are readily present to me, I can examine my life quickly. First, I look for the leanings that I know I give into when the wind starts to blow. When I am feeling discouraged, angry, bitter, lonely, afraid, I can lean into ways of living that point me in the wrong direction. My Achilles’ heel is gravitating toward physical comfort and overwork. These pair together to draw me into sacrificing workout time or family time by escaping into work.  

Dad struggled with these same issues.  

As I think about the trees damaged by succumbing to the wind, I wonder what better ropes and stakes I need to keep me growing in the right direction. A stake or rope requires humility and restraint. It requires the discipline to allow someone who has the proven record of excellence to recommend ways forward. I think of how often my dad sought out these kinds of stakes and ropes, his discipline of marriage counseling with Mom, his workout partner Bobby Moore, his beloved spiritual mentor Father B.  

I enjoy thinking of the beautiful life of my dad as he navigated gale force winds, but to the end stood firm in his faith. This is how I want to live. 

That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers. – Psalm 1:3