This couple had a favorite spot to camp together while spending a few nights under the stars. Year after year, they went back to this very spot for their anniversary. They always sat by this one tree that was fairly small when they first started going. Every year they set up camp under its shaded branches while it grew bigger and taller. They watched it grow from a small infant tree into a flourishing, vivacious living entity. They always commented how much taller the tree has become and how large it was becoming. They thought “wow, that’s a huge tree, magnificent!” Returning to their favorite spot by the tree one year, they noticed that part of the tree had been hollowed out and it wasn’t looking as healthy. The next year they returned, they saw the branches had wilted some more and there had been carvings of names and letters in its bark. They now perceived this tree as being somewhat hollow, imperfect and scarred. The next year they returned and saw one of the big branches had fallen off the tree, split from the main trunk due to natural causes. They said to themselves “remember when this tree was so full of life? Next year, let’s find a new campground with another tree because this will soon be dead or torn down.”

As a society, we are taught to see only what is above ground, assess it, label it and then to see how we are in relation to it. What the couple didn’t notice was how abundant and strong the roots were, how the roots have come through the ground and become other trunks and branches many yards away. The tree was still flourishing, in fact, even stronger. Measuring the tree just by the eye and growing vertically (growing up), the tree may have reached its limit growing in that direction and may be stunted or on its descent. What was not seen was how much it had been growing all along, just in different directions; in some ways even stronger and more powerful with a mighty foundation. So, just because something may look like it is imperfect, hollowed, scarred and not growing, doesn’t mean that there isn’t tremendous growth in directions unseen. Maybe without all of those imperfections, there would not be such strong roots and the ability to grow into the healthy, appreciative bountiful self that is now, and always was perfection manifest.