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.