trees and power lines

Sometimes when I’m driving, I do the best thinking. I had an experience this weekend that made me come to a fairly obvious, but possibly worth sharing (you be the judge), observation about life and relationships. I was driving to my mom’s for Mother’s Day, and as I was driving I was thinking (as most of us tend to do)….and this time I was thinking about relationships. And I noticed a tree growing at the side of the road next to a power line. The tree had been chopped almost in half vertically to allow space for the power line to go safely through….one half of the tree was beautifully shaped, almost perfectly round and quite tall, while the other half was just…..missing. And where the tree should have been, the power line was staking its claim. The tree was obviously being compromised, its beauty was impaired, and it’s ability to grow naturally and blossom fully was being suppressed. It was obvious that these two things, so different in purpose and composition, didn’t belong together, and it looked so unnatural for them to be in such close proximity when it wasn’t healthy for either of them. Then it made me sad for the tree.

And it made me think about certain relationships that are like that–two people are together but are holding each other back, or one takes too much from the other in order to function optimally….and the other gets accustomed to their arrangement even though they are constantly being held back against their natural inclination toward growth and development. People, like trees, need room to grow, room to breathe and reach their natural potential, and should be loved and respected for all that they are. They shouldn’t be cut back just so someone else can take up space. And when someone does take too much from another person, or takes advantage of a relationship, it becomes grotesquely obvious to the outside world —even though the tree might be so used to growing in that very spot, and knows the drill (parts will be taken from them regularly), they don’t really think so much of it after a while. It is now the norm.

So what’s the moral of this story? Too often, we continuously pair ourselves with people who aren’t going to give us room to grow, space to become the beautiful, independent beings that we are meant to become. And when we follow that pattern, we might never realize that we’ve been doing it wrong all along–we might keep choosing power lines over other trees. But I believe there IS someone out there for each of us, someone who will grow separately but next to us, allowing us room to prosper, and not expect us to grow in their shadow.

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