I had some family vacation time last week and got to kayak in some southwest Florida island waters, weaving through thousands of Mangrove trees. It reminded me of a few things I had learned in the past. Here is how the trees “spoke” to me:
- My “roots” (private life – quiet time, solitude, surrender to God) are vital for my energy, impact and purpose in public life. Mangrove tree roots grow down from the branches, gradually expanding the tree’s base. This is how many coastal islands around the world were formed. It’s amazing to see this up close.
- My “branches” (public life – relationships, serving others, making a difference) are dependent on nourishment from my “roots.” I can’t spend all my time on the branches, or else I will grow weary or burned out. I also can’t focus all my time on the roots, or I am only growing inwardly, without touching lives outwardly. It is a delicate balance much like the life of the mangrove tree.
- My “progress” (growth in relationships, work, personal, health, etc.) takes place gradually over time. “Little by little” is one of my mottos. Life is more of a marathon than a sprint. There is a sense of urgency to do what I am called to do, but this is tempered with “active patience,” waiting, resting, trusting as I am doing. There is a greater sense of abiding (an open hands posture of receiving) than striving (a clenched fists, gritted teeth posture of achieving). Mangrove trees make progress over time.
How are you doing with your roots? How about with your branches, your progress? I would love to hear your thoughts and comments about ways you nurture these in your life, or how this has challenged you to grow in this.
Rachel Kamps says
Dear Mr. Stanton
I am both a singer/songwriter and a licensed massage therapist. I just read your recent Lessons Learned From The Mango Tree bllog. I so appreciate yoir imsigjrs, your teanspRwncy and your artistic musical.talents. I ansorbed whet you wrote and reflwcted upon. I listen to your music often. I wish to meet you, perhaps even share a concert audience with you. Thankyou. Rachel Kamps.
Rachel, thank you for your comments on the Mango Tree blog. I am grateful that my music and words are encouraging your journey! – Stanton
Rachel Kamps says
Whoops, I did not catch my typos… I appreciate your transparency AND humility, AND the wisdom you shRe both in your words, and wordless music. Keep it up friend!
While your roots are your private life, I feel that they also represent ask of your life experiences that have help to molds and shape you into the person you are today. The fact that the roots grow down from the branches also signify that your past supports your future. The mangrove tree is truly a masterpiece of natures art.
Thank you Coach Stewart. I agree and really appreciate your sharing more depth about mangrove trees. Blessings to you with both roots and branches, Stanton
Joe colavito says
Well said, Stanton. As you know, God revealed a palm tree embedded in the center of a giant banyan tree to me in Southwest FL in 2007. Surprisely i discovered that the palm tree was there first, and took on the role of a host tree. Your blog today rekindled the message I received as I stood in the shade of the great tree’s canopy. “Stand firmly rooted in faith in the place God plants you and something much BIGGER will grow up around you.” It’s been an honor watching you stand firmly as a symbol of peace in a restless world. Thanks for offering us the opportunity to watch your roots grow, and for reaching out your talented branches to bless us with your music.
Thanks so much for your comments Joe! It is a blessing to see our stories continue to grow. – Stanton
Jacob Wondergem says
Beautiful parable, i’m convinced that its most important to remain rooted in Jesus Christ and realize that we need to seek His Kingdom at first. Its from there that we become aware that we are Loved and forgiven. From there we can be certain that our ‘branches’ stay rooted in His Word. Thank you and blessings Jacob (NL)
Stanton Lanier says
Thank you Jacob for reading, and yes so important to be rooted in Christ. Everything in life flows from that. Blessings, Stanton.