Growing Roots 成长的树根

When I was growing up, I had an old neighbor named Dr. Gibbs. He didn’t look like any doctor I’d ever known. He never yelled at us for playing in his yard. I remember him as someone who was a lot nicer than circumstances warranted.

When Dr. Gibbs wasn’t saving lives, he was planting trees. His house sat on ten acres,his life’s goal was to make it a forest.

The good doctor had some interesting theories concerning plant husbandry. He came from the “No pain, no gain” school of horticulture. He never watered his new trees, which flew in the face of conventional wisdom. Once I asked why. He said that watering plants spoiled them,that if you water them, each successive tree generation will grow weakerweaker. So you have to make things rough for them weed out the weenie trees early on.

He talked about how watering trees made for shallow roots,how trees that weren’t watered had to grow deep roots in search of moisture. I took him to mean that deep roots were to be treasured.


So he never watered his trees. He’d plant an oak and, instead of watering it every morning, he’d beat it with a rolled-up newspaper. Smack! Slap! Pow! I asked him why he did that,he said it was to get the tree’s attention.

Dr. Gibbs went to glory a couple of years after I left home. Every nowagain, I walked by his houselooked at the trees that I’d watched him plant some twenty-five years ago. They’re granite strong now. Bigrobust. Those trees wake up in the morningbeat their chestsdrink their coffee black.
I planted a couple of trees a few years back. Carried water to them for a solid summer. Sprayed them. Prayed over them. The whole nine yards. Two years of coddling has resulted in trees that expect to be waited on handfoot. Whenever a cold wind blows in, they tremblechatter their branches. Sissy trees.

Funny things about those trees of Dr. Gibbs’. Adversity deprivation seemed to benefit them in ways comfortease never could.

Every night before I go to bed, I check on my two sons. I stand over themwatch their little bodies, the risingfalling of life within. I often pray for them. Mostly I pray that their lives will be easy. But lately I’ve been thinking that it’s time to change my prayer.

This change has to do with the inevitability of cold winds that hit us at the core. I know my children are going to encounter hardship,I’m praying they won’t be naive. There’s always a cold wind blowing somewhere.

So I’m changing my prayer. Because life is tough, whether we want it to be or not. Too many times we pray for ease,8ttt8.comthat’s a prayer seldom met. What we need to do is pray for roots that reach deep into 18)the Eternal, so when the rains fallthe winds blow, we won’t be swept asunder. 












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