WARNINGThe following blog contains many personal analogies and completely reflects the writer’s inner feelings. If you are intent on reading this in its entirety then you must be prepared to not only be moved emotionally but also to share it among your friends and family.
The Giving Tree is one of the most well-known children’s books, ranking #14 in the “All-Time Best-selling Children’s Books” from Publishers Weekly. While I can’t necessarily remember the first time I read this book, or the first time it was read to me, I do know that I had a copy of it. It’s been roughly 17 years since I have seen that book, let alone re-read it. However, I can assure you that I completely remember the plot and the message of the story.
For those of you who are uneducated, get the book. I cannot provide a summary that does this book justice. (I have included a link that will take you to a free on-line version). With the desire to truly get my point across, I will do my best to capture the message in a summarized synopsis…
A little boy finds a tree and plays on this tree until he gets older. As the boy transforms into a man, the tree becomes sad because it is lonely. The teenager tells the tree that he needs money, so the tree gives him all of its apples in order for him to sell them. And the tree is happy.
Later he comes back, this time a man, and he needs wood to heat his home. The tree then allows the man to cut down all of his branches. And the tree is happy. The man returns again, this time older and wants to build a boat, so the tree allows the man to cut the trunk, just leaving a stump. And the tree is happy. At the end, the elderly man returns, this time needing a place to rest, as he is old and tired. The tree has nothing left to give but just its stump. So the man sits. And the tree is happy.
You’d have to be crazy not to see the common theme. Shoot, even Hellen Keller would see this a thousand miles away. The tree was sad when it wasn’t adding something back to someone else’s life. The tree was happy through its giving. Crazy logic, eh? In a society that is often plagued with “me, me, me”, there are those around us who are always looking for opportunities to give something back. People often look to individuals such as Bill Gates, Mother Theresa, Bono and Princess Diana, just to name a few.
But there are those around us, many that we know personally, who often go unnoticed and unrecognized. These individuals pour much of their lives into our own, crafting us into the adults that we are today. Without their influence, who knows where we might have ended up?! Countless hours of investing, while never expecting anything in return. Whether it was to offer an encouraging word, a smile, a simple prayer, friendship, or even some cash to help us get through a difficult financial time.
I have one in particular. I cannot express the amount of influence that these two individuals have had in my life but today I focus on only one. My Mother. My Giving Tree. I grew up in a fantastic home, not a care in the world. I had an incredibly family, two brothers that were an absolute pain, friends and over a thousand different sets of parents to help keep me in line (let me note that there were probably additional parents that could have been used).
Honestly, I don’t know what it is like to be a “normal” family. My childhood was spent either at church or with families from our church about 5+ nights a week. It was incredible. My parents were over the high school ministries throughout the majority of my childhood and I always had about 20 different brothers and sisters. Activities centered around the church congregation or local community were always present, whether raising money for the USA-based missions or foreign, or to help out a family in need. I learned at a young age that this life is not really mine to give… it’s already been spoken for.
Growing up, I often took for granted how many times people would walk up and tell me “how lucky I was to have such great parents like that”. I often didn’t realize that fact until I got much older and discovered how special they really were. Time and time again I watched both my mother and father make sacrifices to help someone a little less fortunate than themselves. Often I was skeptical, but time and time again I was able to see the blessings that their actions reaped.
This blog has an ulterior motive. Earlier I compared The Giving Tree to my mother, giving and giving until it was almost impossible to give any longer. At this moment, giving is somewhat hard to come by. My mother’s sacroiliac joint (sort of where your hip bones meet) is disintegrating. For almost two years I have watched her walk gingerly, rely on a cane, injections, pain medication, and even a walker…
However, even with the debilitating disease, she has found a way to give. She recently created a blog entitled Hope In The Healing, which is really quite good, and this is coming from one of her more harsher critics. In this blog page she often writes words of encouragement to those going through difficult situations, specifically those dealing with chronic pain in addition to writings about her husband, their passion for church-focused ministry and the adventures of her three boys (mainly me).
Many of us, myself included, wouldn’t be giving anything to anyone if we found it difficult to climb a set of stairs or even walk to the bathroom. Shoot, I’d probably be one of the most miserable human beings on the planet and my sole focus would be to make everyone else just as miserable as I was. BUT, that is not my mom. She found a way to continue to give in a way that her body would allow her.
She found a way to give back. Now it is our turn. What good is a fantastic blog without a call to action? A few weeks ago, one of Nannette’s readers (some know her by the name Candace Jo) felt impressed to open a FundRazr to help pay for her surgery to repair both of her sacroiliac joints. This procedure would literally be impossible to obtain without your giving.
All I ask is this. Follow this link “What You Can Do With $2” and just watch the video. If you feel impressed to donate just $2, I would greatly appreciate it. If you want, share the link with your friends through Facebook, Twitter or other social media outlets. Just like The Giving Tree, it is time for us to give back. Our giving will enable her to get back to doing what she loves most…Giving.