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The Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library Family Tree
The Family Tree - Jun/Jul 2002
An article from Carol Davidson Baird

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 in.

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 earth.

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 holiday dinner.

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.

Return to June/July 2002 Index


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