Stress Wood

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man which built his house upon a rock. And rain descended and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. Matthew 7:24-25

Sometimes the best teachers are the ones who say the least, and in the silence of their presence we feel innate wisdom coming up through the cracks of our lives. The best teacher could be the different trees around us.

Twenty years ago when scientists built Biosphere 2, a vast enclosed ecosystem in the mountains of Arizona, they planted among other things, trees. The trees inside the sealed enclosure grew more rapidly than their wild cousins outside. But they were thin and weak with underdeveloped root systems. Some even fell over from their own weight. It began to puzzle the scientists and then they realized that one thing was missing...wind. The trees were weakened by the absence of the wind. In the wild, trees must withstand strong wind and, as a result, develop what botanists call stress wood—strong fibrous wood that improves the quality of life for a tree.

In our lives, it is hardship and struggle that spurs our growth and strengthens our core. As we work hard to overcome the difficult and challenging situations that threaten our serenity and steals our comfort, a toughness develops within us. In light of this finding about wind, gratitude, not resentment, is the wisest response to the forces that oppose us daily...remember, respond and don’t react!

And you shall be life a tree planted by the rivers. Psalm 1:3

Dave Stallman

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