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Consider this quote from Abe Lincoln

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."



I’ve been sitting here at the kitchen table for the last two hours listening to the tree limbs outside cracking and creaking from the weight of the ice storm that hit over night. Usually by this time on Monday morning I’m already at work, this column has been done for hours and I’m proceeding on with life. Today is different as the ice outside seems to be symbolic of the way I feel about life right now. The particulars aren’t really all that important but like the trees I’ve been working away, living life as full as possible, working hard to grow every day.

Just as in nature, life sometimes sees its own variation of ice storms that come along and blanket your entire soul leaving you cold and shivering and smothered. The time spent under the weight of the ice doesn’t allow you to grow and weighs you down, even in some situations causing parts of your life to crack apart and break away. Most of the time the branches of your life that break away were weak to start with. Those things we should have let go of long ago, or things in our life that were not very stable to begin with. But sometimes the weight gets so heavy that the strongest part of your life cracks, breaks and lands on the ground in a giant heap that will need cleaned up when spring comes.

The tree that has been tended to and pruned suffers the least damage, while the tree that has grown unchecked and neglected suffers the most. However, in that same train of thought, there are times where a tree has been pruned by forces outside of its control, or by well-meaning individuals who in the end weakens the tree to the point where it becomes unstable. A firmly rooted tree grows tall and grand, but there are times when nature comes and just uproots it or blows it over. These blows are the most devastating because no one saw them coming and there really isn’t anything you can do about them other than to cut up the tree, dig a new hole, plant a new tree and start over.

When that occurs and we start anew, the tree grows from the experience. It can be stronger, better tended to so that the next time an ice storm comes along we can be better prepared to shoulder the brunt of the blows that will come. The experience provides for rebirth and growth as long as the trunk is still strong and the roots are firmly planted.

There is one thing that we can be sure of though, ice storms do not last forever. Soon the sun will come out and start to warm the ice allowing the tree to shed its weight and breath again. It is just hoped that the warmth comes sooner than later for a growing tree is always better than an old dead one just waiting to be cut down and hauled away. See you next week, remember….we’re all in this together.