This was posted by my sister on her blog this past week and i thought it was very fitting for this weeks thought. She is an amazing woman, mother, friend, sister, "first responder", teacher. I just can't say enough good about her, she renders service wherever she can and loves her family and those that she comes in contact with. I think this thought is a great thing to remember always, and especially now as we reflect on the past year and the new one right around the corner. We are all trees, struggling to stay strong amid so many outside forces. We need each other and we need to know who we are. We all go through phases of growth, times when we shed are leaves and are left bare and perhaps vulnerable, times where we change and times where we too are the support for someone else. Thank you sis for being such a great support and for sharing this with us all. This was originally posted on her blog. (http://rendellandkatie2012.blogspot.com/2012/12/lesson-from-tree.html)


This month has been a whirlwind and I'm dying to get caught up on my writing but I'm skipping ahead a bit because I've really had a lot on my mind concerning a tree.  Not just any tree.  The tree I have been thinking about is known as the "Survivor Tree."  The tree is located in the 9/11 Memorial in New York City.  The Survivor Tree was found alive in the rubble and ashes from the September 11th attack to the World Trade Center.  The tree was nursed back to health and was transplanted in the 9/11 Memorial, a location of peace and reflection.  I had the opportunity to visit the 9/11 Memorial last month with my dad.  I was impressed by the beauty and magnitude of the memorial; heartbroken to revisit that horrible day 11 years ago; and a little uneasy being back in the same location where such an evil act transpired only a decade earlier.  But as we were nearing the exit I saw this tree...

It caught my eye because it looked so much different from the other trees planted in the memorial.  It was obvious that it was having some sort of struggle.  But it was obviously not the same age as the surrounding trees.  There is a little notation about the tree near it's trunk.  I must admit that tears flooded my eyes and the Spirit of God pierced my heart when I thought about the symbol of life and hope that this tree represented.  I was also a little perplexed why this was such a spiritual experience for me. (Although I shouldn't have been that surprised because many of the major spiritual experiences in my life have happened for me while on a trip with my Dad!)

It all sort of came full circle today while I was listening to an interview with Rosemary Wixom. She posed the question "What is the tap root that will anchor a child in the gospel of Jesus Christ?"  Her answer, "The Plan of Salvation."

Wow... now this makes better sense to me now why a tree, a simple tree could have such meaning for me.  I am like a tree. Aren't we all?  Life is hard. It is windy. It is rainy.  Sometimes it hails. Other times we suffer from the violence. We suffer from choices and consequences of our own and of others.  But, we have a tap root (don't worry, I had to Google tap root to understand it's meaning more).  A tap root is the large single root of plants which grows vertically downwards and bears smaller lateral roots.  Other definitions call the tap root the main root or the primary root.  So, if I am like a tree and I suffer from the weather of life but if my tap root is the Plan of Salvation there is hope.

The Survivor Tree was found by first responders.  I have had first responders in my life who have found me when the storms of life, have pushed me down, uprooted me and left me hopeless.  Those first responders have come mostly in the form of parents, brothers and a sister, church leaders and friends.  Like the Survivor tree I have been nursed back to health.  I have received enriched soil, even had nutrients from others shared with me, been shaded from too much sun (even at the risk of burning their own leaves for a moment), been led to water in drought and have been anchored by others when I was finally transplanted but not strong enough to stand alone.  I recognize now that my tap root, the Plan of Salvation, which is entirely about eternal family and my reliance on the Atonement of Jesus Christ are what has allowed me to survive.  Just like the Survivor Tree I have new branches and new growth.  JUST LOOK AT ME... and now ...WATCH ME GROW!

I can't wait to look at everyone through this new perspective and do all I can to be a first responder for the people around me, particularly my family who may be experiencing violence or storms.  I  am also looking forward to the opportunity to watch people struggle, be nursed back to health and then have beautiful new GREEN growth. 

I'm not even sure what else to say other than I am eternally thankful to my dad for giving me the opportunity to be on a fabulous trip to New York City and to have allowed me to have this experience (more on the trip soon... I PROMISE). I am also overwhelmed with gratitude to my Heavenly Father who allows his Spirit, the Holy Ghost to teach me (and with a head this thick I know that's no small feat!) 

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