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The lesson of the myrtle tree

Last fall, we bought a pink crepe myrtle tree to plant in the front yard. When the gardener planted it, the tree was filled with delicate pink flowers. It added lively color to a yard that used to have a plain and hard-to-keep-green lawn. Neighbors complimented us on the new look for our house.

Then winter came, and our myrtle tree lost all of its leaves. Our colorful tree turned into a dead-looking stump with thin bare branches.

Although we knew we had bought a deciduous tree, its sudden barrenness surprised us. Did we kill it? Overwater it? Underwater it? Did we get a defective tree? Our gardener assured us that when spring returns, so will the tree. Her explanation made sense, because other myrtle trees in our community looked as bare as the one we have. Still, we found it hard to look at our yard every day and see that dormant tree.

At the same time, we were having a lot of other frustrations. I experienced problems in getting my book published, delays in resolving certain personal business matters, school issues with one of our children, and conflicts between some groups at my job. We had a kitchen faucet break, a spring snap in our dishwasher, and a laptop keyboard start to fail.

And the myrtle tree remained bare.

Earlier this week, a few of the problems came to a head. Tensions grew. We felt that the situation was hopeless.

That’s when I noticed that the myrtle tree was starting to bloom. It seemed so bare the day before, but green buds had popped up all over its upper branches. It seemed to come back to life as suddenly as it became bare. The next day, buds emerged throughout the lower branches. Within days, the hopelessly lifeless tree turned green with life.

Around the same time, we found a solution for one of our pressing problems. We got a new faucet, and I fixed the spring that broke in our dishwasher. I ordered a new laptop to replace my aging one. Problems that seemed unsolvable were starting to get solved.

It was like seeing that myrtle tree spring back to life.

Sometimes, all you can do is be patient and have faith. I certainly couldn’t force the myrtle tree to bloom any faster than it does. If I tried to by overwatering or giving it too much fertilizer, I might wind up destroying the tree. You take care of the tree the best you can and wait for it to bloom on its own. It may be hard to see it standing bare and lifeless for months, but the day will come when it turns green and pink. Our problems are like that too. At times, we just have to wait. It’s difficult and frustrating, but it is often a necessary part of the process.

If you have patience and faith, you will eventually be rewarded. This is the lesson of the myrtle tree.

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