This story was recently
received from a childhood friend of mine. He's a spiritual person and told
me a story to describe his feelings at this time in his life.
"On Saturday morning I
looked outside my window and saw my large old apple tree and noticed the
very terminal buds and tips were very slightly parted and just the
slightest green of spring was showing. I heard the tree clear its voice
and yell at me, "It's now or never."
Knowing that it was suppose
to rain and be overcast later, I gathered all my pruning tools, apologized
to the tree that they were not the sharpest, and began to ask that the
tree both forgive and guide me in doing this right. I cut off some of the
older branches that had cracked, some that had competed for the same space
or rubbed another in the wind. I did the best I knew how and put rubbing
alcohol on all the cuts to prevent too much foreign bacteria from getting
I know that trees never
heal their wounds, and this fact somehow seems unfair. Trees learn to live
around their wounds. Trees see where they can now grow where they could
not before. When I adjust my perspective a little and move from my wounds,
I can see hope for possibilities of new growth. When I finished pruning
the apple tree and saw the pile of branches on the ground, I hoped I had
not taken too much off. And then I realized this has always been my
thought and my experience - I never take enough.."
There are worse things in
life than being too generous, but one should not neglect what he needs to
make himself whole.
It is not coincidence that
I deal with family trees.
Trees are trees.
The pruning experience can
also say the same thing about our familial experiences. Some families have
just let the family grow without any real appreciation for the individuals
in that family, taking them for granted or simply ignoring them.
Some people just tolerate
their families and do not really nourish the family as a whole (a tree
dies without fertilizer) with love, attention, aid or solace.
Some people do not prune
their family tree enough and let relatives annoy them, causing bitterness.
Many families simply ignore or tolerate the older branches in our families
without realizing that their age is the one thing they have to offer -
wisdom, knowledge, and great stories they acquired during their time on
We must lovingly nurture
the family tree so the family WANTS to be together for the benefit of all.
You, as the family
genealogist, have a special function because you know all the members and
their relation to each other. Use that quality to keep your family
together so that they eagerly anticipate the next family reunion or
I was thrilled recently
when I was able to bring warring factions of my mother's family back to
the dining table by playing the loving and attentive mediator, and using a
family wedding as a tool.
Most people these days
simply don't have the time or energy to play this role, but I'm glad that
I use my 'free' time for this purpose. I do not earn money, but I earn
inner peace. There's no way to calculate the worth of that.