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  • Rodney Lee Mills

Preparing for Winter

It was a great day for golf and after a 9-month long winter in Alaska, I was excited to go out and play my first round of eighteen-holes. I joined a father and son two-some and off we went. I wasn’t a very good golfer back then and my tee shot was the typical slice and it landed along the tree line just off of the fairway. As I walked towards my ball, I noticed a lot of the smaller trees in the woods were bent over in the shape of a rainbow. It was strange sight to see because nothing was holding the trees in that position. The number of trees in this condition was incredible. I asked the dad I was playing golf with what caused the trees to get this way. He said, “If the trees still have their leaves when a big snow or ice storm hits, the weight of the snow or ice begins to accumulate and over time, it begins to bend the weaker trees over. After staying that way for an extended period of time, they remain that way forever.”

I thought to myself, there is a lesson to be learned from this story. It occurred to me that we too must lose “things” so we can stand later on in life. Have you ever lost something or someone and ask, “Why was this taken away from me?” Maybe it was someone you thought you would spend the rest of your life with. Maybe it was that job you thought was a perfect fit. Or maybe it was a loved one you wanted to spend more time with yet they left you way before you thought the time was right. We may never know why we lose these things and maybe if we knew the reason why that person or thing was taken from us, we would have never asked the question. The truth is that we may never know the answers to these questions.

If you have found yourself in one of these situations, I’m sure that as time has passed, you have found that you have grown from it and are a better person now despite your loss. I do not know what situation you are going through or the extent of your loss. But in the same way that trees lose their leaves, we too will at some point experience loss and the things we lose may be necessary for our growth. When that time comes, after your season of mourning or reflection is over, seek to understand how that situation can strengthen you both mentally and spiritually.

So take a look back at your life, think about those times you loss someone or something. If you are like most people, you probably thought there was no way you could move forward without them or it. My hope is that as time has passed, you found your true self. You found a person who still carried a piece of that loved one or thing with you but this time, you have learned to stand on your own. You found that you too can weather the storm standing on your own two feet. I hope that you also realize that even though your love one would have wanted to stay with you, they too would confess that it was for the better. That would be happy that you are able to stand on your own.

Maybe your loss isn't a person. Maybe it is a job that you thought was meant to be. All of a sudden you find yourself heading in a different direction. The thing you once thought was a sure thing is not so sure. But through your experience, you find strength to move forward, to continue to grow, to become the person you were meant to be.

Because we are unable to see the future, we do not see what could have happened if things went the way we thought they would go. Maybe that relationship or job would have taken us down a path that was destructive or unproductive. What if the things that we thought were most important to us, were also our biggest crutch? It’s not until those things are taken from us that we realize how weak we have become through our dependence on that person or thing. So in the same way that a tree must lose its leaves to “weather” the storm, we too must lose someone or something so that we can withstand our own winters so when that time comes, we will be able to stand for a lifetime.

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