The seasons that change us and shape us

I passed by this old ficus tree earlier this week. Her roots were growing high above the ground, swallowing a parking meter and spilling over onto the sidewalk. What a sight!

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A huge ficus tree in Santa Monica whose roots have swallowed the parking meter and are spilling over onto the sidewalk

 

She was magnificent! We wondered how old she must have been, how many times the sidewalk had been pushed up and out as her roots grew strong and big.

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Looking up at just a small portion of the massive ficus tree!

The next morning, I was reading Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman, and she describes a tree they planted in their cul de sac that was tiny, but grew up large and strong, giving shade to all who sat under her. She wrote:

“And the seasons will move around her, shape her, change her.”

I couldn’t help but draw a metaphor for my life, the seasons of change I have experienced, and the way those seasons have shaped me over the years. I know that the seasons have changed that huge, old ficus tree too. Yet, she still stands tall and strong, as a stubborn and steadfast reminder that change may shape you, but it can not stop you.

I’ve felt the harshness and cold of my wintering soul, hunkered down in darkness, wondering if I’d ever feel the Spring again.

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I’ve looked at Spring in wonder, with its muddy beginnings, small and inconspicuous budding of life and fresh hope for new things.

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I’ve celebrated Summer, with long warm days, carefree schedules and sun-kissed moments.

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I’ve felt the coming changes of Autumn, when the weather cools and the familiar feeling of uncertainty and doubt creep in, and I settle in for the inevitable Winter again.

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You’ve felt these seasons too. And just like me, you have been shaped by them, whether you are aware of it or not. In the at times gentle, sometimes harsh changing of the seasons, you’ve experienced death and resurrection, despair and hope, freedom and restriction.

Like that old ficus tree, I imagine the roots that sustain you have grown deep and wide and large. They have weathered the wind and rain and fought hard to grow around the obstacles in her way. Just like her, you stand majestic and firm, a testament of endurance, resilience and hope.

Despite the outward changes, on the inside there is life. Even in the winter, when leaves fall and branches are bare, the roots are alive with purpose, waiting for the Spring when leaves bud and new life is evident. The winter prepares her for the abundance of Spring and Summer.

Whatever season you are in today, I pray that you embrace it, savor it, and recognize that you are being shaped by the changes that are shrouded in darkness or blooming alive in the sun. God is with you and is sustaining you through every season’s change. In the recreating of you, may you sense his presence in new and wonderful ways.

She shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season.

 

 

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