One of my favorite quotes comes from Samuel Coleridge (English Poet 1772-1834). In his poem, Youth and Age Coleridge writes, “friendship is a sheltering tree.” I have found this declaration to be profoundly true. In the darkest hours of my life, true friends have stood to shelter me. Out of their own goodness, they gave me a place of safety and peace where I could rest and heal. Stripped of everything, I had nothing to give them in return. So completely devastated I could barely speak my gratitude, they were willing to just stand and cover me.
This is the beauty of a tree. A tree stands in its greatest glory when it provides a restful retreat for a weary soul. Trees ask nothing in return. They make no demands. They simply “are.” When the day is hot and the burdens of life bear down on us, taking shelter under a shade tree is an oasis in the desert.
Sometimes in life, all that is needed is for someone to have the courage to simply stand. In doing this, a place is made for others to find shelter. This opportunity can manifest in various situations. A mother stands for goodness in her home, and the whole family is sheltered by her wings. A co-worker keeps a positive upbeat attitude, and everyone is lifted by his presence. A grandfather stays present and involved in the lives of his grand-kids, and the children feel an unspoken sense of love and security.
It does not always require a noble deed or a valiant act to make a difference. Sometimes you just have to stand and “BE” what you are. Just show up and bring the strength that is you. In doing this simple act, you become a sheltering tree for others, providing a place of safety and comfort for those around you. Your goodness becomes a shady spot where people find sanctuary from the blistering heat of this demanding life.
Consider what it is to be “you”. What strength do you bring to situations that is unique to you? Maybe you are peaceful when others freak out. Maybe you are not afraid to take a stand for right when others pale. Some of you are strong by being quiet, steady, and reliable. Others may show their strength by being brave enough to let people in, to make them feel accepted. Some people bring humor. Others of you are kindness and love personified. Everyone has strength of some sort. The challenge is to know yourself, to take a stand and to “be a tree.”
“Goodness stands like a mighty Oak, sheltering weary souls.”
A Good Idea :
Think about your strengths – what are the ways you bring goodness into a situation. Spend time devoted to “knowing yourself” and then – “to thine own self be true.”