The Tree

Some trees were meant for shade, others to provide fruit, firewood and furniture.  Some were meant to look at and admire, while others were meant to become decorations at Christmas.  Apparently, some trees are meant to be relaxing places for people.

There’s a tree along the Brule River in northern Wisconsin that has been photographed many times for over 60 years.  The picture below, featuring my nephew, was taken in 2007.  Somewhere in the family archives there’s a picture of my mother as a young girl reading a book, resting against this exact tree.

Twice recently I was reminded of The Tree.  First, while listening to a recording of a song called, “The Tree” from the musical, “The Me Nobody Knows.”  Second, while reading “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren.  At the very beginning, he quotes Proverbs 11:28 …

“A life devoted to things is a dead life, a stump;
a God-shaped life is a flourishing tree.”

Despite the moss and the way The Tree leans, it is anything but a stump.  Its roots go deep to drink from the river and anchor its tall trunk firmly in place.  It would seem that the purpose of The Tree is to provide pleasure to our family.


Regardless of how much longer my favorite tree lives, it will always be a symbol about the importance of having a purpose that serves others.

“When you are green you are growing,
when you are ripe you are rotting…
…If we stop growing personally and/or professionally,
we stagnate and start to rot.”

Dr. Sam Lam, < >

The symbolism goes a bit farther.  Someday The Tree will be gone. If I’m around to see this part of the river without my crooked, moss-covered friend, I will be reminded that life is finite and we all have a responsibility to bring value to the world while we’re here. And we can’t do that if we’re not growing deep roots.

Today, I am grateful for the opportunity to grow my roots and help others do likewise by hosting workshops like the one this week led this week by Bryan Flanagan.  On behalf of my colleague David Wright, “Thanks Bryan for  bringing your wisdom, energy, humor and sales experience to Dayton, OH.”

2 thoughts on “The Tree

  1. Clancy, In my photo colletion is a picture of me holding my first born infant son, about six weeks old. Will try to locate it for you. Mom

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