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"I think I can. I think I can. I think I can." -The Little Engine That Could

The Oak Tree

on November 24, 2012

It’s not often that inspiration strikes me in a Hallmark Store. However, I spend enough time there that it would make sense to stumble across something meaningful.

For the longest time, I have found meaning in oak trees. They have made their way into my life, one way or another. Whether I was surrounded by them at college (our beloved Oak Grove) or they found their way into my dreams, they hold a special place in my heart. They provide me a sense of comfort. Their towering size, their gentle leaves, their beautiful colors, and strong roots. They make me feel safe when I see them. All the better symbol to be drawn to when faced with challenges or disappointment.

It was upon a visit to buy a card thanking someone for their I had that brought me towards a very welcome reminder. Delicate lime ribbon tied in a perfect bow, sheer enough to draw attention to itself without taking anything from the card’s message, cascaded down from the top of a photograph: a majestic mighty oak. Of course I was intrigued… and instantly comforted. Sweeping aside the soft ribbon, I began to read the card itself…

A mighty wind blew night and day.
It stole the oak tree’s leaves away,
Then snapped its bark
until the oak was tired and stark.
But still the oak tree held its ground
while other trees feel all around….


The weary wind gave up and spoke,
“How can you still be standing, Oak?”
The oak tree said, “I know that you
can break each branch of mine in two,
carry every leaf away,
shake my limbs, and make me sway.
But I have roots stretched in the earth,
growing stronger since my birth.
You’ll never touch them, for you see,
they are the deepest part of me.
Until today, I wasn’t sure
of just how much I could endure.
But now I’ve found, with thanks to you,
I’m stronger that I ever knew.

Inside the card, the message reads…
Especially now,
try to remember
that you’re stronger
than any problem
you encounter
or any disappointment
life will bring.

Thinking of you,
believing in you,
caring for you.

Sometimes inspiration sneaks up on us when we least expect it. And sometimes a hopeful reminder finds its way to you when you feel most vulnerable.

Here is my friendly reminder to you. Know ALWAYS that you are stronger than anything with which you may be faced. You are bigger than any disappointment. And always, there is someone thinking of you, believing in you, and caring about you. Whether you feel like one of its leaves or the tower oak itself, it doesn’t matter. Believe that this, much like all other things, will pass, and it will make you stronger if you let it.

Dig deep. Find the passion you’ve been lacking or the strength you seem to have misplaced. Root yourself in the positive.

Bend, don’t break. Let the gusting winds of change stir your soul, but not snap your resolve.

Stand tall. You are a beacon to so many that you may not even realize. They take comfort in your presence.

You’re the oak tree. Now act like it.

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