My daughter’s friend gave her a baby redwood tree. It is about two feet tall and sitting in a large pot out in the shade of our front porch. Redwoods and Sequoias grow to be about 300 feet tall and the largest one is about 100 feet in circumference. Yikes… But today this little tree is content to live in a large pot. He is just beginning his life. The largest Sequoia is said to weigh more than a million tons and is 2100 years old. That dates back to the time of Jesus. These plants are the oldest and biggest known living organisms on the planet. A pretty impressive heritage for our little treelet. He has a long way to go. Because we all have to start somewhere.
I started having back trouble a couple of years ago and it makes it hard for me to walk any real distance. The pain actually limits me in many ways. My mother who lived a long and healthy life used to tell me to try water aerobics. I felt like that was an exercise for old people. And then one day while looking in the mirror I had to finally admit…oh, yeah… I am one of those “old” people.
So I dragged myself to the YMCA the other day for my first water class… a lovely group of happy, healthy, and admittedly older people were there cheerfully enjoying the water and the exercise. A beautiful white-haired woman who looked to be 90 gave me a dazzling smile and welcomed me. The class began… by 15 minutes in I was afraid I wouldn’t make it. 90-year-olds were going to outdo me. I hung in and I found myself enjoying the weightlessness of the water. I was walking again with no pain. It was exhilarating.
I think we can learn that from a redwood tree and from water aerobics. Our lives are so filled with instant gratification. From remote controls for our TV’S to cell phones that give us games, news, friends with the touch of a button, we come to expect everything to happen immediately with little effort.
Redwoods probably chuckle (to themselves) about our frenetic paced lives. They will be around long after we have burnt through our life spans and they still will be watching the sun rise and set, and the seasons change. They are not worried about elections, or violence or breaking news. They just grow. They provide shade, shelter, and food for other species. And they keep on growing as the animals come and go, as the storms rage and subside. They grow through snow and heat. Their root system connects to their fellow trees. Together they hold themselves up through wind and rain.
But they started small and kept at it. And they help each other and all those that sit in their shade.
In Matthew 6:28 Jesus says: Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
So today as I take another small step toward a healthier life, I think I will consider the redwoods and have faith that God will give me the strength to keep at it. To grow and keep growing. We all have to start somewhere? What small step can you take today?