This winter has been one of the snowiest that I can remember in a long time. If you like statistics, it’s actually been the fourth highest in amount of snow to fall since they started keeping records over a century ago. For my family, with all the snow shoveling we’ve been doing, it feels like this year was truly the worst. A saving grace is the picturesque view we have from our kitchen window of all the snow laden trees in the backyard. This slightly diminishes the anguish we feel at the prediction of yet another snow storm.
For the past six weeks, I have been focused in particular on two backyard trees, which have been completely bent over from the weight of the accumulated snow and ice. The ice was so weighty that the tops of the trees were literally touching the ground, mimicking the shape of a candy cane. The trees were newly planted last spring, and I have been rooting for their survival, even though from all appearances, they were doomed. It was hard to imagine that they would ever stand straight again.
Then, this past weekend we got some reprieve from the below freezing temperatures as the thermometer soared into what felt like a balmy fifty degrees. With the rise in temperature, of course, we saw much of the snow melting. Much to my delight, as the ice (which kept my lovely little Leyland Cypresses fixed to the ground) melted, the trees began to spring upward back to life. They are not yet fully upright; they still have a bit of a way to go. So, I’ve decided to give them a little help by attaching them to a sturdy post which will hold them erect until they are fully able to stand tall on their own.
You may have already guessed where I am going with this post. As I gaze at these little trees trying to recover, my mind imagines that the trees actually represent real people. I envision the many people, who, like these trees, are struggling to survive, wanting to stand tall, yet are weighed down from troubles life has brought their way. If we look around, I’ll bet we can easily identify others who are overly burdened by the heaviness of life’s difficulties.
If we are willing to notice them, we will see that these people can use some help. Keeping in line with this blog’s theme of unconditional love, I’ll mention that one of the greatest commandments in the Bible is to “Love our neighbor as ourselves.” One way to show this unconditional love is to find ways to help support others in need until they can stand on their own. (Get the connection to the trees?)
There are scads of stories in the Bible to illustrate my point. One of my favorites is from the book of Nehemiah, which takes place around the year 590 B.C. (I know I spoke about Nehemiah in a previous post, but it has great relevancy to my central theme here, too.) To recap from Nehemiah, the Jewish people were taken into captivity in Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar, where they remained for about seventy years, after which many of them returned to Jerusalem.
This was the time period when cities were fortified with walls to protect them from enemy invasion. Nebuchadnezzar’s army had destroyed the walls surrounding Jerusalem, and the city gates as well. Simply put, Jerusalem was completely vulnerable to its enemies. Nehemiah, a high official in the court of King Artaxerxes in ancient Persia, felt it was his mission from God to come to their aid. And so he did.
After enlisting the King’s assistance, Nehemiah personally went to Jerusalem to repair the walls and gates. You can read the rest of the story for yourself, which is very inspiring regarding Nehemiah’s persistence against all odds to complete this task. Nevertheless, my point is that Nehemiah saw a need to help others and filled it. The result was dramatic. Because one man was willing to reach out to help his fellow countrymen, the exiled Jews were able to safely reestablish their lives in Jerusalem. Pretty impressive, wouldn’t you say?
My suggestion is that we can all be like Nehemiah. I’m not saying that we’ll be able to save a nation; but, just as one man gave selflessly to others and positively impacted an entire population, we can never know the far reaching effects a simple act of giving can have. Shall we give it a go? To inspire you, I have a modern day Nehemiah type story to share with you….but, not just yet. Please join me next week for the moving conclusion of “Reach Out and Touch Someone…..in Need.”
See you next week! Please join our U Love chain here!