Reflections on a Fallen Tree

A huge maple tree came crashing down across the street from my home.

The rainstorm disappeared just as suddenly as it had made its debut, and the entire neighborhood gathered around the horizontal tree.

The massive tree blocked the entire street; thankfully no people, vehicles, or homes were in its path.

That afternoon saw none of the usual bike riding, roller-blading, and baseball games that are so common in our yard. On the day the tree fell, all the children spent their time gazing in wonder at the fallen tree and watching unfortunate drivers attempt to make U-turns as they approached the blocked-off street.

In between reminding my children not to climb the weak branches of the tree, I wondered about all the excitement.

We see upright trees on our block every single day. What makes the very same tree, in a 90 degree rotation, so fascinating?

It’s all about perspective. The very same object, word, or action can be perceived as exciting or mundane, thrilling or tragic. An upright tree is a blessedly common occurrence, and we scarcely ever give it a second glance; while a fallen tree, as a result of its unusual position, became an object of wonder.

A spilled gallon of oil on the freshly washed kitchen tiles can be seen as a calamity at this moment, or a humorous memory a decade from now.

Forgetting the GPS system at home, and getting lost on a family vacation, can be seen as terrible predicament or an opportunity for adventure and fun.

Of course, let’s never forget the famous story of horrible traffic on the way to the airport, which resulted in a family missing their flight- which subsequently crashed.

The loss a game of baseball, while disappointing for the player, can be approached as a learning opportunity for dealing with disappointments.

How many of us have been forced by circumstances beyond our control to move to another community amid tears, only to realize later that relocating was actually a blessing in disguise?

Raising children comes part and parcel with an abundance of challenges, and our attitude is what makes all the difference!

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  1. What a great article for today! I had a really rough morning and was just about to call a friend to complain, and now I’m changing my perspective and seeing all the good in my life that I was just overlooking. We are so blessed, and yet, it’s so easy to focus on all the little things that go wrong….

    ~Lizzie, mom of Lily, 4, and Shane, 1.5

  2. Perspective is a great thing to remember and to remind ourselves to look at another point of view.

    When we pray for strength/patience/fill in the blank, it is not strength (etc.) we are blessed with but opportunities to test us so we can be learn from the experience.

  3. Very inspiring!!

  4. well said, after spending $1200 yesterday for car repairs… I’m thankful it broke down AFTER I had dropped my 3 year old to daycare… that my job allows me to work from home during situations such as a car being in the shop… and that the money was readily available…

    I enjoyed a day home with my 3 year old, he played in the sprinkler while I worked on the patio… I could have made it bad… but I didn’t and that’s what we have to remember.

  5. Julie R. says:

    As a mom of two teenagers, it seems all of a sudden, life is speeding up at a very fast pace. Sometimes I’m not sure if I like it as much as the younger years–but looking at the growth and obstacles that my kids have overcome, I can’t help but be proud. The storms of our lives can either stop us in our tracks or prod us into another direction. Sometimes starting in that new direction is like pulling my feet out of concrete. I always enjoy the reading that your publication sends. I am very blessed to be a mom. Thanks.

  6. Mary Ann says:

    This made me think of Robert Frost’s poem, “The Tree Fallen Across the Road”.

  7. Am also the mother of two teenagers, and I would love to say the same about starting in a new direction! Right now, I feel like I have made all the wrong choices for my kids, despite knowing that there is a good reason for all that happens…feel like the storm is never ending. Any tips will be appreciated

  8. Amita,
    I don’t know how many other parents feel that way, but I know I did and sometimes still do think I should have….
    My children are 20 somethings, one is turning thirty this year. I use to beat myself up over those worries, but I cannot undo what has been done. Remember you did the best you could with what you had at the time!
    What you can do now is counsel and advise them when they ASK for it, remember to think long and answer slowly And PRAY!

  9. Amita,
    Please remember God is not finished with them yet!
    All will be well!

  10. Thanks Mollie, thanks Katie…helps to know I am not alone ….I beat myself up more often than not but I shall remember to PRAY.
    Wll also remember to think long…have said a lot I regret.

  11. When your children are grown these years will be a dim memory. Pick your battles, remember that “relationship is #1” so watch WHAT and HOW you speak to them. Treat them with respect even if you don’t feel like it! Teens are just finding their independence and their brains are not fully developed yet, so they don’t think like adults even tho they want to be like adults. This time too shall pass; pray; develop a support network with friends; pick your battles; and ask for forgiveness if your have wronged your child instead of being plagued by guilt. If it won’t harm them or someone else & if it’s not illegal don’t push the issue. If you teach them good values, morals and a belief system they will find truth in & for themselves one day. Then you will see your rewards!

  12. Catherine says:

    Life is filled with learning and(re)perspective opportunities. I work wih small souls and enjoy watching them change their self perspctives, while achieving so much more than expected. We are fortunate, so blessed to live on a planet in a universe so filled with love and wonder we only need to stop periodically and simply BE for a moment. We truly are spirits having very human experiences. We all learn by doing, through learning opportunites [often labled mistakes],we discover what works[/or not] in many different situations.

    I learned that all beings have a category of wisdom, and when I am open I can share in the vast experiences.

    Today, it is a fallen tree creating awareness, tomorrow begins the tree’s journey to replace what was lost, and the broken pieces begin their journey to…? How wonderfull it would be if a craftsman took charge of the downed tree and turned it into a piece of art or furniture, giving the downed tree a new purpose in life.

    Funny, how a fallen tree can lead us to a discussion of purpose and learning opportunities!

    Lesson learned from trees: grow and be…. alive!

  13. Great article. The other day I thought I had lost my wallet and was totally upset at the thought of trying to remember what was in it and getting everything replaced. I kept telling myself that so many people now are dealing with their home being destroyed by a tornado or a flood, or worse yet, losing a family member or friend due to one of these storms, and unlike a person or a cherished memento, a wallet and all of its contents can be replaced!

  14. Debbie says,

    I, too, am the mother of two teens! Whew! I can’t tell you how many times in the past few months I have prayed for a “do over”! It is hard not to look back and cringe at all those moments we are not so proud of. Isn’t it sad that some times, those are the moments we seem to remember instead of the bright and shiny ones. I guess it all comes back to attitude and making the choice to recognize and celebrate the good and to go forward! We can only begin with this moment.

  15. Hi Debbie…you echoed what I have felt many times, about wishing to do it all over again! Isnt it odd , how so many of us fraught mothers can feel the same way, thousands of miles away?! I too, try and remember the good times, and going through old videos and pictures helps to recapture those times. How young are our teenagers? Is it possible to connect with you, as I have no clue how to connect with other mothers..Please let me know ..I dontknow how many others post to this site from India!!

  16. Hi Debbie…you echoed what I have felt many times, about wishing to do it all over again! Isnt it odd , how so many of us fraught mothers can feel the same way, thousands of miles away?! I too, try and remember the good times, and going through old videos and pictures helps to recapture those times. How young are our teenagers? Is it possible to connect with you, as I have no clue how to connect with other mothers..Please let me know ..I dont know how many others post to this site from India!!

  17. GOD bless you for your inspiring and motivating articles!!! Thank you so much for the friendly reminders to appreciate what we have and to always be thankful!

  18. Rather motivating to read the article and all the comments posted. We may come from different parts of the world or from different culture or religious background, but as mothers we love our children & want the best for them. How many times I’ve cried over the cruel words I’ve uttered to my only child. Having read this article & comments, I’m confident now that life goes on, unkind words uttered can’t be taken back. So I’ve got to improve & move on to make life for my son & myself better in the future. I’m glad God has given me a chance to be a mother (even to one child).

  19. Laquita says:

    Been there, done that, too! Still am…Anytime you are feeling down on yourself, listen to Trace Adkins’ song, “You’re Gonna Miss This”. It will make you smile and cry at the same time, but it is a wonderful song and a tonic for your soul. It should be in the Gospel section, too, in my opinion!

  20. Silvana says:

    I’m a new mother and the youngest daughter to an incredible mother and youngest sister to 3 wonderful women. What I’ve learned from motherhood is you must demonstrate everything. My mother absolutely “demonstrates” how to be an awesome mother each day of her life. Her greatest gift to us was and is advise. Everything she says makes sense. We never had to contest what she said because she always spoke the truth. You can’t contest that. She did everything she said she was going to do including taking things away from us. She never looked upset about her decisions. Mostly she sifted the heart of her girls. She made us women and from that we became and are becoming mothers. She never freaked out on the “little things” and made sure to be firm on the wrong things. That’s why we listened. She wasn’t always giving us trouble. Just when we needed it.