“Stay strong,” something we say a lot to people in times of need.
My friend recently told me a story about the mighty oak tree. It’s power and strength make it tower over the weeping willow. We point to the two trees and say, “See there. That’s strength. The mighty oak tree stands tall. Next to it rests the weeping willow, with its droopy branches bending toward the ground, cowering over like it’s frightened. Strength is what’s needed to get you through tough times.”
But then a storm hits that is more powerful than the ones before. It shakes the ground, thrusts wind through the air, and pelts heavy rain on the trees. The oak tree stands tall, resisting the storm, while the weeping willow wavers in the wind, swaying its branches where the storm blows it. A sudden violent strike is too strong for the oak tree to bear.
The storm lifts. The oak tree is left cracked and splintered, with limbs scattered beneath it. A once mighty tree is now broken. The weeping willow remains hunched over, its branches weathered but intact. The willow didn’t resist the wind, telling it which way to go. It eased with the wind, stretching back into shape after being bent.
Instead of being strong like the oak tree, be flexible like the weeping willow. Know that storms will happen. They are difficult to predict. But just like the weeping willow, bounce back after being bent. Be resilient. The storm will pass. It will be sunny again.
You can’t tell the wind which way to go, but you can dance in the direction it takes you.