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I am often struck by the sight of a tree that has grown over, through, and around a wire fence or other obstacle. Someone’s put up a fence and a tree that was either already there or has since sprung up has continued to grow in spite of the obstacle. That tree, determined to grow and evolve from seed to sapling to towering, thick-trunked being, has gone about its business and kept right on growing. I feel bad for the tree, but I admire its silent determination.

“If seeds saw dirt as their enemy, they would lose out on the opportunity to grow.” Matshona Dhliwayo

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.

The tree has, in a way, made that bit of fence a part of itself just as obstacles, faced and overcome, become parts of us. While the fence is most likely not good for the tree, the tree appears to be thriving in spite of it, just as we, too, are usually able to do. Think about it. You can probably name a few difficult things you’ve overcome. You likely haven’t forgotten them. You might be reminded of them every single day. Or you may still be working on them. Maybe they’re buried somewhere inside your being. In any case, they have probably changed you in some ways, possibly even for the better. And here you still are. You are the beautiful, imperfect you that you are because of all the people, things, and situations–good or bad–that you’ve encountered in life.

“If a flower perseveres through concrete, you can persevere through anything.”

― Matshona Dhliwayo

NM980 Fierce

If you’re looking for my cards or art, you’ll find all of that on my website. And if you like this letter, you’ll find past letters and poems on my blog.

It’s nice for me to think of you out there, reading this. Whatever our obstacles are right now, and there are certainly many, I hope we all find ways to rise above and grow in spite of them, just like all those noble trees.

Thanks for listening,

P.S. MerryThoughts is the name of my first book, out of print at the moment. The word is a British one, referring both to a wishbone and to the ritual of breaking the wishbone with the intention of either having a wish granted or being the one who marries first, thus the “merry thoughts.”

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