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#424: The Lesson of the Tree

Thursday, November 18, 2010

As I looked at this picture of some gorgeous flowers in Japan, I was struck by the tree's shape, sort of bent and gnarled and curved over, not at all the perfect posture of the majestic Redwoods in California or other trees around the world that reach straight toward the sky emoticon.

But, to me, this tree's attraction lies in it's obvious imperfection and it reminded me of how many of us are judged by others because of our imperfections, such as being overweight or balding or too short or taller than average or because of a physical deformity or for numerous other superficial reasons.

When people judge like that, I believe they deprive themselves of seeing true beauty that is visible if we accept that not everything nor everyone is perfect. We're all different sizes, drive different age vehicles, live in different kinds of homes, wear different clothes, have different types of jobs, or no job, and a plethora of other differences that make each of us unique.

So, why are some people so quick to judge?

Could it be because they, themselves, feel insecure and think by demeaning or belittling or judging others that they in turn will then feel better about themselves?

But imagine what the world would be like if all of us wore the same clothes, same colors, same shoes, drove the same kind of car emoticon, lived in the same kind of home emoticon, were the exact same height and weight. It would be a pretty bland and boring world, wouldn't it?

When we see someone who is not "perfect" let's look at them for their inner beauty and their strength of character. Like looking at a Bonsai tree versus a Redwood versus an orange tree or like the one above whose beauty is a result of the effect of years of nature upon it.

We age and change appearance. We are thin emoticon and we are heavy
emoticon. We have smooth skin and skin that sags. Changes occur and there is nothing we can do to stop them, changes that mold us into the individual people we are, full of experiences and knowledge and skills that are vastly different from those of all other people in the history of the world emoticon.

When we are tempted to judge someone for one or more of their traits, let's remember the picture of the tree, a tree that is bent and gnarled and curved over and see beyond it's imperfection to it's natural beauty and realize people are just like that tree, if we only look past their so-called imperfections.
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  • no profile photo YW84FRIDAY
    Beautiful analogy, Lou.

    3748 days ago
    No one is perfect in every way...love that tree shape!!!

    Wendy :) emoticon
    3754 days ago
    People can be so cruel! God made us all different for a reason, down to our fingerprints! Thank you for sharing your thoughts, they are so right on! I love the tree too, because it is different! It's beautiful!
    3754 days ago
    I heard said before "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder", so if you (as in anyone) can't see the beauty in others and all around you then maybe you need to improve your vision. I believe everything is beautiful in its own way and yes I am glad we are not all the same. I am glad God, made different type's of trees, flowers, birds and people! Thanks for reminding us Lou, to look for the beauty in those around us. Everyone has beauty! God Bless you . Joy
    3754 days ago
    3755 days ago
    Thank you so much for writing this. I really needed it.

    I have been doing some soul searching the last few days because of how my son was treated by some friends. My son was born with hydrocephalus, developed epilepsy, and has some physical and educational issues. That being said he is in college. It may take him a while to get through at just 3 classes or so a semester since it takes him longer to complete assignments, but he is there! I get so hurt when people treat him like he doesn't understand what is going on! Recently a friend tried to "forget" my son asked to help him with a project. Rather than just tell my son he didn't need the help, or they couldn't use him, he just put him off, then said, "Oh, I didn't know you were interested!" Of course, my good natured son was hurt but didn't say anything.

    My son may be a bonsai tree, but he is beautiful to me.

    Thanks again. emoticon
    3755 days ago
  • LESLIES537
    Oh, so true! Fantastic blog! You are one talented writer! emoticon
    3755 days ago
  • no profile photo CD5326885
    Thank you so much for sharing yet another one of life's fabulous lessons. The gnarls and cuts on the surface of the tree only reveal that it withstood some of nature's most severe testing. Yet how many times do we stand in awe as we view it and marvel at the magnificence and "beauty," considering how frightful and punishing that storm must have been, which demolished all of its neighbors. We are amazed at the strength of that tree to remain.

    But how many times do we look at people who are crippled or have obvious "handicaps" with a variety of reactions. We turn away. We are embarrassed. We are "repulsed". We pity them. We are glad we aren't them, etc.

    If we would only stop and reflect on what they must suffer on a day by day, moment by moment basis, we probably would come to realize that WE are really the "handicapped" ones!!

    Sorry I added to your comments here - I got lost in my thoughts and just started typing!!
    3755 days ago
    Beauty is so much more than skin deep! Think how boring life would be if we not only all looked the same, but had the same desires, dreams, and interests! Our Father certainly loves variety!
    3755 days ago
    Every day we have a choice. We can look at the people that we come in contact with (and the situationas that we experience) and see the beauty in them while keeping the attitude that "we are all doing the best that we can". Or we can look at them through the lens of judgement and criticism which highlights perceived flaws and imperfections and keep the attitude that "something is wrong with them/this". No matter which perception we have, we are the ones who live and benefit or suffer as a result.

    I really enjoyed your blog.
    3755 days ago
    As awlays, a very ncie blog Lou! Victoria

    ¸.·´¸.·*´¨) +***+...+***+...+***+
    You *.*.*.*.*.*.+.*.*.*.*.*.*.+

    3755 days ago
    Variety is truly the spice of life. Differences are to be embraced and celebrated, not feared and shunned. Such a great blog. Thank you!
    3755 days ago
  • no profile photo CD5002230
    I took the girls for a walk in the woods today. They kept noticing the things that were "different" like bright yellow leaves amongst all the green or the darkness of a piney wood vs. an open deciduous grove. So, we talked about how God loves diversity. We even talked about how our "new" dog is so different from our "first" dog, but we love her too.

    Some people don't enjoy walking the trails and would only see a hole if we pointed it out. But our eyes see not a hole, but a home and we wonder who lives there. Sometimes you are the teacher and sometimes the student. Never the Judge!

    Peer pressure and cliques are right around the corner with all the harsh, uncalled for judgments. I hope they remember!!!

    This really struck a chord with me tonight. Thank you for sharing it.
    3755 days ago
    Oh, Lou! How do your blogs keep getting BETTER?

    I love this blog! Yes, if we were all the same, all in uniform, the world would be too boring to bear! emoticon
    3755 days ago
    Wonderful blog, Lou. There is a Crepe Myrtle tree standing in the center of our courtyard/garden. It always reminds my husband and I of a Bonsai tree, because it is also very twisted and gnraled looking. Yet, every Spring it is covered with leaves and buds, which later become beeautiful pink blossoms. So many people look at the tree and think it should be cut down. It has weathered many storms, even a few hurricanes. Yet, it stands proudly in the center of the garden, providing beauty for all who look at it, shelter for countless birds and squirrles, and shade for many children and adults.

    It has purpose even though it is not "perfect". As do all of us...each 8in our uniqe way, just as you stated so eloquently in your blog. Thank you!

    3755 days ago
    Wow, this was a great read. Beautiful! emoticon
    3755 days ago
    This blog has touched me more than any other I have read. When I was going through some very VERY intense therapy years ago, my therapist shared a short story about a bonsai tree. Much like your blog, it described how experience twists and turns a tree. Another time, during a spiritual retreat, I read a beautiful story about a tree & it's roots. Trees, that are given everything... plenty of light, water, fertilizer do not develop the same strong intricate root system that trees in the wild do. They have to fight to reach down to the water tables and reach up through the other trees to get the light that they need. When the strong winds of storm come along, THESE are the trees that stand firm. The ones with no roots topple at the slightest wind of challenge. Both stories have changed my life forever. Your blog has touched my heart, just as your friendship has. Thank you for sharing the journey with me. Love, Dawn PS: I collect pictures of trees. The more gnarled & intricate the better, ESPECIALLY pictures of trees in winter because THEN, during the toughest of times, the true beauty of their branches is seen... THANK YOU! emoticon emoticon
    3755 days ago
  • no profile photo CD8301081
    I love trees with gnarled trunks. I also love all the things that make us different. Great blog. emoticon
    3755 days ago
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