A tree in our neighborhood speaks to me of resilience.

Its roots had grown under the fence so that they had to cut space for them, yet its canopy had withered.

They called a tree company to cut it down. I always hate to see a tree go, but they didn’t cut it down completely. I wondered why? Cutting it shorter could have made for a natural outdoor serving table.

Slowly, over the months, I understood: the tree is growing back, healthier than before.

The American Psychological Association defines resilience as “The process and outcome of successfully adapting to difficult or challenging life experiences, especially through mental, emotional, and behavioral flexibility and adjustment to external and internal demands.”

As an overly emotional being, I often don’t feel resilient. My initial instinct is to wither under the too-muchness of situations.

And yet… as I reflect on the last few hard years, I kept going.

Metaphorically, perhaps I had been chopped mid-trunk and I still kept my face to the sun. Human me kept moving, one foot in front of the other, walking and praying, reading and writing my way towards health.

And now, like the tree, I see new growth.

Keep going, friend. Whatever you’re facing, no matter how difficult, you can take one slow, intentional, mindful step after another. Slow steps forward make progress. Lean on your fence or your friends for support, but stay upright. Seek and savor joy. Moments of joy lead to hope and resilience, which we all need.

Eventually, you’ll see healthy new growth as well.

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