Being a Pillar of Strength
Did you know that Oak trees have been the national tree of the United States since 2004 due to legislation naming the oak America’s National Tree? Did you know that it has this distinction in other countries such as England, France, Germany, Poland and Wales? Oak is one of the strongest woods in the world. Our nation is thought to be sturdy, strong and able to endure a great deal. The Oak tree could not be a better symbol!
Strength and endurance and steadfastness. That’s what we need to live life’s life. That’s what we do to support and care for our seniors. We have to be able to withstand strong storms that come our way. We have to be able to pick ourselves up and to be resilient. We need to be able to march onward. What does one do to gain that type of strength and endurance? I always recall being taught that we each need to build a strong foundation. That foundation needs to be deeply rooted and firm. Once we have built that foundation, we can then introduce other elements on top. If the foundation is strong, the elements on top will last. Did you know that mighty winds may blow but the oak tree will remain standing? Did you know that the oak tree is most susceptible to lightening, yet it still stands tall? What makes the oak tree so strong? It’s all in its roots; its foundation.
As you know, the oak tree produces acorns which in turn produce starter roots that can get as long as 15 feet in about one year. This can then spread outward to about 45 feet and more roots can develop from there. Since the tree is also one of the oldest trees with one located in Louisiana known to be at least 1,500 years old, the oak tree’s root system certifies its longevity!
We can learn something from the strength and endurance and longevity of this majestic oak. A poem by Johnny Ryder called, “The Oak Tree”, depicts it well.
“A mighty wind blew night and day.
It stole the oak tree’s leaves away,
Then snapped its boughs and pulled its bark
Until the oak was tired and stark.
But still the oak tree held its ground
While other trees fell all around.
The weary wind gave up and spoke,
“How can you still be standing, Oak?”
The oak tree said, “I know that you
Can break each branch of mine in two,
Carry every leaf away,
Shake my limbs, and make me sway.
But I have roots stretched in the earth,
Growing stronger since my birth.
You’ll never touch them for you see,
They are the deepest part of me.
Until today, I wasn’t sure
Of just how much I could endure.
But now I’ve found, with thanks to you,
I’m stronger than I ever knew.”
Every day we are faced with winds and storms that blow and chip away at our structures. We sometimes feel weak as the wind continues to blow or as storms of change enter our gates. Yes, the world is changing and with it we must draw from our foundation of strength to help anchor us so that we can see it through the storms of change. The world has experienced famine, wars, floods and various forms of disaster, yet we figured out a way to make it through. We can do it again, despite this, hopefully weakening, pandemic.
As we figure out a way to make it through this pandemic, we have to be reminded from where we gain our strength to endure and to work through the hard times. My dad always said, “Sometimes you have to go through the bad to get to the good.” He is right. Rainbows are a promise that there are good times and days ahead of us. Let’s strive to dig down deep into our foundations of strength to help ourselves and each other, to weather the storm as the mighty oak has amply done over the years. We can be that pillar of strength. We will do it, together!
See you at our next in-person, socially-responsibly-distanced meeting, Thursday, March 24. The meeting room is huge so come and learn and network!