There is a tree I see on my path during my nature walks. It has caught my eye because it is a broken tree, cracked in half. Yet at the sight of the break, new shoots have sprouted and grown.
I see this tree as a metaphor or symbol of widowhood. I was struck down and became broken. Yet had to go on with new sprouts that emerged and took root from my brokenness.
What always strikes me is how fragile, new and young these shoots look against the strong main trunk of the tree. That has gotten me to thinking about how fragile we all are in our positions. Yet why is there sometimes this assumption that our loss and losses have made us stronger? You hear it in the phrases "What doesn't kill us makes us stronger" and "God doesn't give us more than we can handle."
In my opinion, grief and loss hasn't toughened me up or made me stronger. Most days, I feel like these new tree shoots - fragile, weak, tentative, growing. Definitely not who I was once before.
I'm humbly amazed passing by this tree. Looking at these new shoots which are now their own branches coming from a tree struck down and fallen, yet still reaching for the sky. And I'm reminded of how fragile life can be, how fragile we can be. There is a necessity for us to be kind, compassionate and nurturing to ourselves. These poor shoots came up on their own taking root out in nature and surviving. There is a need for us to nurture ourselves through the growth that comes after loss. To see ourselves as fragile and new, not strong and hardy. We've been struck down and are still fragile as we continue to live on past our loss.