This article was in the NYTimes yesterday.
It’s an essay about a year spent in a New York city apartment, the resident still mourning the death of his life partner two years earlier, and what he learned about persistence and resilience by watching trees outside his window weather the seasons and their accompanying hardships (wind, ice, thunderstorm).
Parts which spoke to me particularly strongly:
The trees, clearly overmatched by the combination of winds, rain and lightning, were not fighting this storm but yielding to it.
How is it that snowflakes, tinier than tears, can carry such weight?
The sermon this morning was about forgiveness. That forgiving someone, or not, has very little to do with the forgivee but everything to do with the forgiver. That choosing to carry your grudges around (like overburdened slaves) rather than letting them go probably does no harm to the transgressor, but can do a lot of harm to you.
How much stronger is the tree, (like buildings and bridges), that gives in the wind, that carries on from one season to another, weathering every storm, bearing the accumulated weights of thousands of tiny little hurts (tinier than tears) but able to shed them at the soonest possibility and bloom again, broken branches and peeling bark and no less beautiful in its imperfections?
Resilience is hard, and forgiveness is hard — sometimes forgiving oneself for one’s shortcomings, both real and imagined, the hardest of all. And yes, you might be letting someone off the hook. But how much less weight is that to bear than that which most of us carry?