Happy New Year!
January 1st is one of my favorite days of the year. And this year I’m even more excited than usual. Each year I’ve observed people making plans for a better year ahead. Some even looking back at the previous year or years. Some people feel a sense of regret or remorse for things in the past. However, like me, many are filled with hope and resolutions for better health, greater wealth and loving, lasting relationships in the new year.
Before we get to why I’m excited this year though, you may be wondering who I am and why you should pay any attention. After all, I’m just a tree that shades a small playground in a corner of a park in the desert, right?
Well that is what I call an incomplete truth.
That description of me would be like saying you are a human being that works at a company in a community. And we both know there is so much more to you than your species, job and location.
Here is a little more about me and my unique view of the world.
I was planted here as a sapling just 20 years ago. I came from seeds of greatness and have what some consider an old soul. When I look back, there are centuries of my ancestor’s experiences and wisdom in my roots. When I look out and ahead I am situated at a vantage point to see a small community of people and observe their struggles and accomplishments up close. Young children play just under my branches with their parents close by. Older children and adults play on the basketball & tennis courts in the park. There are even swimming pools, baseball and soccer fields within steps from my shade. Now here’s the fun part for me. Not one of my ancestors had this advantage. I am tall enough to see a city that attracts more than 3 million people each year from all over the world. At the same time, my roots have grown into the lot of a church next door. So, my roots are grounded in faith while my tallest branches observe the world in a place nick-named Sin City. This unique position provides the experiences, wisdom and vision I’ll be sharing with you.
There are families who have grown up in my park and nearby church. The lessons I’ve watched them learn over the years will now be yours as I share their life experiences. Brace yourself, these are not fairy tales. Their lives are filled with beauty and wonder just like my branches as they blossom and fill with tender spring leaves that become a rich, deep green in the summer. However, like the ground beneath my branches in the fall as my leaves litter the park, the lives of those I shade from the sun are sometimes messy. And very much like the barren branches in the picture you see of me today, their lives at times seem bleak with nothing to shield them from the cold, cruel world around them.
Then there are those energetic world-traveling visitors I can see in the distance. They come to celebrate, escape and forget the messiness of their lives back home. I’ll be sharing some of their antics with you as well. It’s a way for me to capture a bit of their excitement for myself. Of course, things aren’t always perfect with the visitors. They come to play, yet end up being played on occasion. Those lessons are hard, but worth knowing.
So why am I so excited and extremely grateful this year more than any other?
Yes, you are the reason I’m excited this year. I can’t change what is happening or what happened to the people around me. However, I can give you an advantage with a few insights for a better life as I share their lessons with you.
This self-assigned, expanded purpose is enough to keep me grounded and reaching for the stars all year.
As a human, you have the power to assign yourself a greater purpose in life than the one you believed you inherited. Consider a purpose that honors your roots, broadens your capabilities and empowers those around you.
Cheers to the New Year!
The Grateful Tree
December 29, 2017
As 2017 comes to an end there is so much to be grateful for, in spite of all the traumatic, devastating events that have shaken the entire world this year.
It’s hard to believe how much of the world I experience right here on my little patch of earth. You’ll learn why as my story unfolds.
Today I stand here naked and grateful, soaking up the sun’s glorious rays as I tell you a little about how I came to be.
About 20 years ago I was planted on this spot to oversee a playground in the desert. The summer sun is scorching here. The metal playground equipment below could be torture to little hands if not protected from the direct sunlight. The owners of the land and playground planted me with confidence I would do a good job. Year after year I have reached for the sky, stretched to grow and stayed strong even when my beautiful spring leaves shriveled and fell from my branches one by one each winter.
It took a few seasons for me to get used to the constant changes as I grew each year. Now I’ve reached the height where I feel confident I’m making a difference. I’ve observed over the years that those who have a purpose seem to have greater confidence in themselves and their abilities to make a difference. It also seems to help them weather the changes and unexpected events that occur in their lives.
Today I am grateful for the sun’s warmth and the laughter I hear in the playground on this mild winter day in the desert. I will need the heat to get me through the harsh winter night ahead.
I’m looking forward to sharing more of my story and observations with you in the coming year.
The Grateful Tree