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The Transplanted Tree

Outside my window where my family and I have been staying during this season of lockdown and self isolation grows a baby tree - not a plant - but a tree root, a taproot, that my husband planted by our room. The taproot was taken from elsewhere and planted near our room so it could grow and provide shade. Since moving it, it’s needed some tender care - a little bit of natural fertilizer and ground covering from the land around us (compost, leaves), plenty of water and not too much heat (we’re in a village in North East Thailand where the sun feels hot almost from sunrise to sunset - close to 12 hours!). Some transplanted trees will need extra support - a post to tie it to and help it stay up until it’s roots are steadfast. When speaking of grown trees, there are many trees that don’t require this amount of care daily. Their roots are firm in the ground where they can get water and nutrients, and they’re strong enough to withstand most weather conditions without needing a large amount of care.

Seeing this “transplanted” tree outside my window every morning when I awake and every night before I sleep, I can’t help but think about what it symbolizes.

In these days, the entire human race is being challenged by something many of us have never experienced. Perhaps we are like this baby tree. Perhaps we feel like we’ve been cut off from something that was our source, from our comfort zone, and placed somewhere we feel vulnerable, challenged, irritable, anxious and worried by things we never imagined before. Perhaps we’ve been taken from everything we’ve ever known and placed in soil where we have to grow our own roots and strengthen them, feel hot and try to survive under the heat of the sun, wait for nutrients to come into our cells and allow us to breathe once again. It reminds me, an Australian living in Asia, of how it felt to move to and live in another culture, and the time and care I needed to take during that transition. Perhaps this is a picture of ANYONE who has been in any kind of transition.

When we first transplanted this baby tree, it seemed to be dead for about a week. That first week was vital in caring for it to ensure its roots would grow and then start to produce green leaves again. WE, in whatever transition we’re in, CAN GROW AND THRIVE in this new normal IF we allow ourselves the special, tender care that our transplanted tree has received. In times of transition we might feel exhausted and dead. It’s SO important to acknowledge that we need time to grieve what was, before we can embrace the new. We need time to receive care, before we can produce fruit once again. We need to allow ourselves to die in our new soil, so that we can come alive, afresh, renewed. We might even find that in our new soil we rely on God more than before we were “transplanted”. We feel we need Him more.

In our new soil, we might even be more useful than we ever were before. Perhaps we were like a root of a larger tree and are now cut off and growing in its own soil. Before, we were part of the shade and fruit. Now, we WILL BE the shade and fruit. However, we can’t do that without the special care - the water, nutrients and sunlight - those things that keep us alive: God’s love and His life-giving words, those we love, and the understanding of how important it is to take care of our souls - always, and especially in this time.

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