There is a tree that sits outside our kitchen window. Lacking leaves or any signs of life, I assumed the tree was dead. About six months ago, I considered speaking with our gardeners about uprooting the tree, unsure of its viability and whether the presence of the tree was doing more harm than good. However, I held back from making the verdict. Squirrels and birds would run up its branches and I figured, “Oh well…I’ll leave that decision to another day.”
And then came the rain. This otherwise dormant tree, a tree that hasn’t produced leaves or greenery since we moved into the house, has come back to life. It is a beautiful sight to witness. Purple flowers are beginning to bloom, and hummingbirds visit our window. With a hot cup of coffee, I start my mornings staring at our tree and smile, realizing that unexpected growth comes from sometimes, the least expected places. That even when we think something or someone isn’t capable of change, there may still be room for growth to emerge.
Often, we experience frustration in particular relationships. Frustrated with family, spouses, friends, and colleagues. We wonder if it is better to uproot a situation than spend any more time tending to its growth. While sometimes, it may be healthier to weed out that which is damaging, a question should be asked: is there any unearthed potential? Is there still room in this relationship for positive growth and connection? The answer may still be no. But the answer just might be…yes.
As the Psalmist teaches, “Happy is the man…in which the teaching of God is his delight…he is like a tree planted beside streams of water, which yields its fruit in season, whose foliage never fades, and whatever it produces thrives.” It took a long time for my tree to grow. But it has been worth the wait. May we find the same growth in each other…unexpected blossoming that enhances our lives with wonder and joy.
In partnership with The Jewish Journal, you can also find Rabbi Guzik’s blog post HERE.