We are all like trees in some capacity.
We glow and grow old, increasing in beauty with every year that passes. What kind of tree are you? Perhaps you bear fruit, lowering your branches in humility. Perhaps you are tall, grown and alive, but your heart only quietly beats as it struggles to survive, every day aching, hoping for nourishment from within. Or maybe you are an evergreen, stronger and larger in heart and spirit than the rest of us, driven by visions of touching stars and growing firmer from experiences that left scars.
I was a sapling once. I grew, but I grew in all sorts of different directions. I felt broken at times. I used to think I was stable and unwavering but one day a child tried to climb onto a branch of mine, and due to my weakness that branch collapsed. Children used to love climbing up my trunk, tiny feet gripping branches as they ascended, but soon, enough of them broke that I looked and felt empty, and parents took their children away to keep them safe. Soon children, loyally, tried to come back but they soon resigned themselves to deserting me too. What happened to optimism? I wonder if that was the same moment I gave up.
I felt a sudden pain, and it was in my trunk. It was worse, oh so much worse, than my injured branches. I could not see who or what was there, as it hacked away at my strongest point. I began to deteriorate, and I soon forgot what well-being meant or felt like. No sooner had I found it in myself to turn to God for help, there His help already was, a presence loving, merciful and unwavering.
The acceptance I sought came, slowly but surely as I talked it out with Him, and suddenly, I found the answers were all within me; I had been looking outside for comfort, I just hadn’t realized I had them all along, under the surface. But this alone didnt stop me me from falling. Finally, though I was able to mask the pain from myself with distraction, it came to a climax.
What did I do wrong? I asked.
How do I get back? Are my sins too grave for Him to accept me? Time passed as I lay there begging Allah to save me, to bring me back to life, better than when I had begun. What I hadn’t realized, was the dripping drizzle, rain that was dripping mercifully. A drop touched my rooted, injured heart for a moment, and you must have heard me sigh with relief, my leftover leaves rustling in the wet wind. Over time the patter grew faster, but also increasing in softness and clarity. I approached further purity, feeling clean and pristine quite quickly. Soon, my branches were taken — the rain continued comforting, and I felt the peace and safety of a child being cared by a loving parent. My trunk came apart. My stump was all that remained of the despondent version of my self.
Someone saved pieces of me, you see, and built a home. It was painful; after all they were taking me apart, piecing me into another form, but soon their young family came to reside within and I watched, able to take part in their joys, as they tracked the children’s growing height on my wall, and in the morning the little ones ran across the hall to wake their mum and dad, their tiny feet padding against my floorboards. The recitation of the Quran reverberated through my walls, that they painted with light and hope for a better day with gentle, kind strokes. My prayer – to end up better, and farther along in the journey which I had begun, before the pain – was answered.
Today, I call myself Nevergreen.
I will break but I will always come back together. I will never stay the same, and I am not the best of all the trees. But that’s fine. I’m satisfied with just being the best of me.