After a devastating storm wiped out most of our trees two years ago, I began planting new ones. Several I ordered from the Arbor Day Foundation, some I bought from the local garden store, and a few I got from a friend who dug them up from her yard.
Two of the trees that "took" from my friend's yard are red-tip maples. We've been so pleased with one of those trees. It's grown six feet since I planted it a year and a half ago. For a long time, I wasn't even sure the other one had survived. I had to keep hunting for it amid the other plantings in the front yard.
Another storm blew through three nights ago. When I looked out the bathroom window the next morning, I was dismayed to see the 8-foot red-tip leaning over, nearly touching the ground. From all appearances, the tree is "bent, not broken," but it's going to take some support-a brace and some string--to heal properly and continue its growth. The other red-tip, growing more slowly and still close to the ground, is stronger and growing stronger. It bears no ill-effects from the storm.
From the trees I am learning the value of slow and steady growth. I imagine the trunk of the still-small tree slowly thickening, its roots reaching deep into the earth. The trunk of the other tree has grown very tall, but is also quite thin. The taller it grows, the more difficult it becomes to support its growth. The fast growth of the first tree has been exciting to watch....but seeing how each tree handled the storm, I'm betting the now still-small tree is in it for the long-haul.
Perhaps the same is true for us "spiritual saplings." As Benedict said, "Do not aspire to be called holy before you really are." Indeed.
Peace for the journey,