The crooked trees were symbolic to me of damage done during the formative years. The severely gnarled trees spoke to me of life’s inevitable pain.
Do you see how this tree grew? It started out in its infancy healthy, growing straight to the sky. But some trauma obviously occurred that caused it to start growing crooked to the left. As a horticulturist, I know this was during its formative years.
Survivors of childhood abuse – all kinds of abuse – also begin to grow in a crooked fashion as they try to compensate for the damage done to them through trauma.
Abuse causes humans to grow differently than those who were not abused.
Anything that happens during a child’s formative years causes change in psychological growth. Some that were severely abused physically or sexually cope with the abuse by forming “alters” – alternative personalities that appear as needed. Always there is a dominant strong personality that appears if needed.
For one person I know that was “Writer”. For another person, it was “Fighter” whose job it was to protect the other personalities.
But look at the tree again. See how it not only survived, but began to grow straight and tall? Amazing! What caused its growth pattern to change? Maybe it was its nature to grow toward the light that won out in the end. Its need to grow towards the sun was greater than the damage it incurred.
Humans are the same in many respects. Their damage and its consequences meet up with something that is stronger and allows them to heal – not unaffected, but definitely stronger. Maybe it’s someone who believed in them.
That person, for me, was my 8th grade teacher, Margaret. In many cases, it’s loving a pet – dog, cat, horse, or any animal that accepts their love without threatening them.
I was a handful as a child: undisciplined, impulsive, talkative, and totally self-centered. I was always in trouble – a very crooked tree. But a spaniel named “Freckles” and a teacher named “Margaret” were the turning point for me. Also, I had a praying Grandmother who would not let God forget that I needed protective angels 24/7. And then one by one, God brought new friends into my life that just accepted me, no questions asked – no qualifying demands.
It is amazing what mere acceptance does to a young person. It is so profound that when I tell you I have felt God’s “love” it means I felt His total acceptance.
So next time you encounter a “difficult” child, think of him/her as the hungriest child in a food shortage. Donate a few crumbs of kindness to that child and watch him/her change before your eyes. Be an agent of change instead of glaring at that child or walking away!
Wouldn’t it be awesome if you were the stimuli for a change in growth pattern for that precious little tree?
(c) 2007-2009 April Lorier