If you’ve ever lived where there is dirt, not New York City or downtown Los Angeles, some place with unpaved hills and bugs, then you’ve seen how fruit grows. Maybe not exotic fruit. Maybe nothing from the Amazon, but you’ve seen an apple or an orange most likely, dangling from a stem, light caught in a dew dusted curve around its belly. Maybe a pear.
You’ve seen a tree, perhaps, on a “good year.” It was heavy, bushy in all it’s productivity and weighted down with what it was designed to do in life. If you have lived in a place where your home didn’t require an elevator to get to, you know that fruit can be beautiful just in its waiting-ness to fall. So beautiful, it feels personal. The season turned as did your admiration into impatience for picking time.
If you have woken up early to the opening day where air and hour and the absence of sound work on you like a special promise, you have known what it is like to put on your creased and cracked boots, to call your happy dogs and start out into your long work.
You know that every tree has potential and every tree has limits. You remember when you first came upon the brokenness, the fractured limbs, the long fresh splinters cutting through the morning just so. Too soon. “Too soon,” you think and repeat out loud to your tree, trying to explain. Too soon, fruit still holding the branch like they are drowning. The last clutch in death. Oh, shame.
If you have lived where branches so full of fruit break under the weight of their life’s work, you have lived to learn that to be productive, to sustain that kind of strain, to endure, a tree and her branches need support. You have known forever after to put two-by-fours fashioned into braces under those loads and hope the big winds don’t loose their grip. You can’t forget the loss. Sometimes you have even thinned the clustered fruit, maybe peaches, reluctantly pulling out one of three, two of three. You’ve done what it takes. Dropping them and knowing that the others will grow. Your fingers, bitten with cold and regret, move between the leaves giving yourself and the tree hope. You give yourself and you give the tree what is needed to produce well and to live.
In those deciding moments, if you have worked with these trees, you have learned that we also break and lose what our life would put out for the world. If we could. If we had support. If we were buttressed. No one can put out for long without it. Not Me.
And so now, we look to see where our hopes have increased. We identify where to tend, where we habitually, that is to say, or where we have on many other occasions been known to come apart. Oh, the loss. The memory with the knowing fear dances like a hologram until we simply or not so simply, this time, acquire help.
Questions: How are you working to build up support where you are weak? How do you find support? What have you seen come out of your life when you have? Please tell us your story.
Self-Care Tip: Get you some support where you are weak. Be a friend to yourself.
- Trees Are known By It’s Fruit (shirlblake.org)
- Apple Or More Apple Trees? (sanjuan89.wordpress.com)
- NOW PLAYING: Lullaby of Wind and Tree (Loquy) (yangkidudel.wordpress.com)
- Find your Trust 2010/08/09
I drove past my psychologist’s office yesterday. I had been Christmas shopping – finally! I’m still not strong so shopping had been an effort ending in pain and exhaustion…and the annual question since I had my breakdown “Why is this shopping, decorating, baking, hostessing, etc. necessary? Why does it have to be so hard, so painful, so exhausting when what we are celebrating is the simplicity of how Christ arrived to save us?” My psychologist is Jewish and yet, year after year, she not only helped me answer that question but helped me get through it by reminding me that I could only do what I was, right then, capable of doing and no one would love me less for doing less….that what we celebrate IS simplicity and the rest is…well, what is it? Is it the the Magis’ gifts or the shepherd’s visit? And every year, as we talked, all I wanted was for it to be over. This year I feel the same only it’s because of physical, more than mental, illness. Even so, this year, as I passed the office I have not visited in almost two years, the support I got was the memory of our conversations in her office during this season – the cup of coffee I held, the silence and simplicity of her office surroundings, the quiteness of her voice, the strength of her convictions. If we can be supported just by what we have learned through our illness, of what we remember about our healing process, of what we need to continue our friendtoyourself journey, then celebrating where we are in our quest for wellness is where we begin celebrating the reason for this season…or this right now time, whatever we believe and in whomever we put our faith.
Great writing, Sana. Welcome back. You’ve been missed.
thank u so much nance. i’m happy to be “with” u too. i luv hearing these reflections on your psychotherapist’s presence w u. dear. keep on.
What a beautiful metaphor for life. I think it is all about having enough hope to keep planting seeds — whatever your emotional station may be at a given time.
thank u very much anne. that means a lot from a word-craftsman like u. hope, indeed.
One of the first ways in building up support for yourself as a caregiver is to recognize that you have to give up control. As caregivers, we are always going to be worried about the ‘big picture’ and that is where are attention needs to be focused. Yet in order to be fully present to the ones we care for, we have to be able to take time for ourselves and build support around us so that there can be health respite time because respite time is often a two way street.
Successful caregivers are ones you recognize that having a ‘messiah complex’ does not benefit either party in this meaningful relationship. It is when we reach out to others for support, conversation and sincere friendship that helps transcends the care-giving experience. Help and support is just around the corner when you recognize that giving up control is essential a healthy care-giving experience.
wow. i never thought of it that way Chris – giving up control to b an effective and satisfied caregiver.
submit my ego. that is the best way for me to ask and receive help. and to be my own advocate. to allow myself to be in a place of humbleness. i have asked for help and received no help i have asked for help where i thought i should and there was nothing that was appropriate. so that slowed me down a bit to trust that i would find the right help. so i asked God in Faith and did receive. i am blessed because of faith of listening to my intuition the quiet God voice inside.
ask, seek, do. its can be hard, because doing it alone seems easier at the time, less fraught with dangers. at least you have yourself, and having hope in another can also be dangerous.
i am learning and i have been blessed with all the right people in my life this year! i am so grateful. this blog is one of the things i have been so blessed with and all the responses. i have learned so much.
Dear God, please give me humility, courage and community too. I’m grateful for Col’s words. amen
12 step rooms, sponser/sponsee relationship, connect with higher power, stick with the winners – it rubs off.
so good. get me some of that ink.
Dearest Sana, In this special time that many celebrate this holiday season. I am requesting that you will place this on your site for a heartfelt reflection. Thank You!! Happy Holidays & A Prosperious New Year!!! UNTO YOU…A SAVIOUR IS BORN
The King Of Glory stooped low to take humanity. Rude and forbidden were HIS earthly surroundings. HIS Glory was veiled, that The Majesty of HIS outward form might not become an object of attraction. HE shunned all outward display. Riches, worldly honor, and human greatness can never save a soul from death.; JESUS purposed that no attraction of an earthly nature should call men to HIS Side. Only the beauty of Heavenly Truth must draw those who would follow HIM. The Character of The Messiah had long been foretold in prophecy, and HE desired men to accept HIM upon The Testimony of The Word Of GOD. The angels had wondered at the glorious Plan of Redemption. They watched to see how the People of GOD would receive HIS SON; clothed in the garb of humanity. Angels came to the land of The Chosen People. Other nations were dealing in fables and worshiping false gods. To the land where The Glory Of GOD had been revealed, and The Light of prophecy had shone; thats where the angels came. They came unseen to Jerusalem, to The Appointed Expositors Of The Sacred Oracles, and Ministers Of GOD’s House. Already to Zacharias the priest, as he ministered before the altar, the nearness of CHRIST’s Coming had been announced. Already The Forerunner was born, HIS Mission attested by Miracle and Prophecy. The Tidings of HIS Birth and the Wonderful Significance of HIS Mission had been spread abroad. Yet Jerusalem was not preparing to welcome her Redeemer. With amazement The Heavenly Messengers beheld the indifference of that people whom GOD had called to communicate to the world The Light Of Sacred Truth. The Jewish nation had been preserved as a witness that CHRIST was to be born of The Seed Of Abraham and Of David’s Line; yet they knew not that HIS Coming was now at hand. In the temple the morning and the evening sacrifice pointed to The Lamb Of GOD. Yet even here was no preparation to receive HIM. The priest and teachers of the nation knew not that the greatest event of the ages was about to take place. They rehearsed their meaningless prayers, and performed the rites of worship to be mostly seen by men. Their strife for riches and worldly honor they were not prepared for the revelation of The Messiah. The same indifference pervaded the land of Israel. Hearts that were selfish and world engrossed were untouched by The Joy that enveloped all Heaven. Only a few were longing to behold The Unseen. To these Heaven’s Embassy was sent. Angels attended Joseph and Mary as they journeyed from their home in Nazareth to The City Of David. The decree of imperial Rome for the enrollment (the census) of the peoples of her vast dominion has extended to the dwellers among the hills of Galilee. As in old time Cyrus was called to the throne of the world’s empire that he might set free the captives of The LORD, so Caesar Augustus is made the agent for The Fullfillment Of GOD’s Purpose; in bringing The Mother Of JESUS to Bethlehem. She is the lineage of David, and the Son of David must be born in David’s city. Out of Bethlehem, said the prophet, “shall HE come forth…that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from old, from the days of eternity.” Micah 5:2, margin. But in the city of their royal line, Joseph and Mary are unrecognized and unhonored. Weary and homeless, they traverse the entire length of the narrow streets, from the gate of the city to the eastern extremity of the town, Vainly seeking a resting place for the night. There is no room for them at the crowded inn. In a rude building where the beasts are sheltered, they find a refuge at last; and here The Redeemer of the world is born. Men know not, but the tidings fill Heaven with rejoicing. With a deeper and more tender interest The Holy beings from the world of light are drawn to the earth. The whole earth is brighter for HIS Presence. Above the hills of Bethlehem are gathered an innumerable throng of angels. They wait the signal to declare The Glad News to the world. Had the leaders in Israel been true to their trust, they might have shared in the joy of the heralding The Birth Of JESUS. But now they are passed by. GOD declares, “I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground.” “Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness.” Isaiah 44:3; Psalms 112:4. To those who are seeking The Light, and who will accept it with gladness, the bright rays from The Throne Of GOD will shine, In the fields where David as a young boy had led his flock, shepherds were still keeping watch at night.(during the fall season; the winter weather had not arrived.) Through silent hours they cared for their flocks. “And lo, the angel of The LORD came upon them, and The Glory Of The LORD shown round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them,”Fear not: behold, I bring you tidings of great Joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David; a Saviour, which Is CHRIST The LORD.” At these words, visions of Glory filled their minds of the listening shepherds. The Deliverer has come to Israel! Power, exaltation, triumph are associated with HIS Coming! But the angel must prepare them to recognize their Saviour in poverty and humilieation. “This shall be a sign unto you,” he says; “Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in the manger.” The Heavenly Messenger had quieted their fears. He had told how to find JESUS. With tender regard for their human weakness, the angel had given them time to become accustomed to The Divine Radiance. Then The Joy and Glory could no longer be hidden. The whole plain was lite up with the bright shining of The Hosts Of GOD. Earth was hushed, and Heaven stooped to listen to The Song: “Glory to GOD In The Highest, and Peace on earth, Good Will toward men.” On that… today the human family could recognize that Song! The Declaration then made, The Note then struck, will swell to the close of time, and resound to the ends of the earth. When The SON Of RIGHTEOUSNESS shall arise; with healing in HIS Wings, that song will be re-echoed by the voice of many waters(people/HIS Saints), saying, “Alleluia: for The LORD GOD Omnipotent reigneth.” Revelation 19:6. As the angels disappeared, The Light faded away, and the shadows of night once more fell on the hills of Bethlehem. But the brightest picture ever beheld by human eyes remained in the memory of the shepherds. “And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another; “Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is to come to pass, which The LORD hath made known unto us. ” And they came with haste:(very quickly), and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in the manger.” Departing with great joy, they made known the things they had seen and heard. “And all they that heard it; wondered at those things; which were told them, by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising GOD.” Heaven and earth are no wider apart today than when shepherds listened to the angels Song. Humanity is still as much; the object of Heaven’s solicitude as when common men of common occupations met angels at noonday, and talked with The Heavenly Messengers in the vineyards and the fields. To us in the common walks of life, Heaven may be very near. Angels from The Courts above will attend the steps of those who come and go at GOD’s Command. The story of Bethlehem is an exhaultless theme. In its hidden “the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of GOD.” Roman 11:33. We marvel at The Saviour’s Sacrifice in exchanging The Throne of Heaven for the manger, and the companionship of adoring angels for the beasts of the manger’s stall. Human pride and self-sufficiency stand rebuked in HIS Presence. Yet this was the beginning of HIS Wonderful Condescension. It would have been an almost infinite humiliation for The SON Of GOD to take man’s nature, even where Adam stood in his innocence in Eden. But JESUS accepted humanity when the race had been weakened by four thousand years of sin. Like every child of Adam; HE accepted the results were is shown in the history of the earthly ancestors. HE came with such a heredity to share our sorrows and temptations, and to give us the example of a sinless life! When satan was in Heaven; he hated CHRIST for HIS Position in The Courts Of GOD. Lucifer hated JESUS more, when he himself; was dethroned. satan hated JESUS who pledged HIMSELF to redeem a race of sinners. Yet into the world where satan claimed dominion; GOD permitted HIS SON to come; as a helpless babe, subject to the weakness of humanity. GOD permitted HIS SON to meet life’s peril in common with every human soul, to fight the battle as every child of humanity must fight it…at the risk of failure and eternal loss. The heart of GOD yearns over his children. And is saddened at the perils of this world. HE longs to yield HIS Children from satan’s power; to hold us back from temptation and conflict. To meet a bitterer conflict and a more fearful risk. GOD gave HIS Only-Begotten SON, that the path of Life might be made sure for all. “Herein Is LOVE.” Wonder, O Heavens! and be astonished, O earth!” The Lamb Of GOD IS Born!…The KING Of kings!…The LORD Of lords!….It IS HE…The Great I AM!!!!…. (taken from DESIRE Of AGES by Ellen White.).
there’s a lot here KM. thx for reaching out. keep on.
We cannot do anymore than we allow ourselves to complete. If I did not have the time off from work that I took before Christmas then I would not have been prepared for any celebration. I chose to participate in a cookie exchange and that took time and preparation. I chose to give home baked gifts to my co-workers. I chose to address all the Christmas cards. I chose to make the meal for Christmas dinner. Everything is a choice.
We did not hear from many people this Christmas season. They were probably busy and overwhelmed. I’m sure writing out a Christmas card was not high on their list of priorities. Sometimes once Christmas is over we can breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy the season.
I have several projects I need to complete that will take time away from my free time in January, but I chose to take that extra effort for another person. It definitely is a balance that we as caregivers must recognize daily, and it is a choice.
Happy New Year and thank you for your wisdom. I love the fruit tree example of needing support. I will remember that when I feel overburdened.
thank u patty. familiar stories somehow r our favorite ones to hear. keep talking
Good metaphor, and that is so true. We can only do so much. Many people overwork themselves and hurt their health and/or relationships, and we all need to slow down. Even if we are using our time to help others, there is only so much we can do. Sometimes I do too much, so I must cut back so I can rest. Then, I can do a better job on things when I’m doing a reasonable amount.
duck, thank pal for speaking out. i resonate w this.