Occasionally I’m given a gift that is so thoughtful that it makes my heart go soft and gooey like bulging pillows of marshmallow roasting over warm embers. I’ve had a few of those gifts in my lifetime and I had the pleasure of receiving one of them this week. It was a late Christmas present from a most considerate woman, late due to her being away at Christmas and her man not knowing which present was to be given to me.
The gift came in a Christmas bag in two parts. The first was a hand blown wine glass from Swaziland, something this woman knew would appeal to my social conscience. The second part was a picture book called The Giving Tree, written and illustrated by Shel Silverstein. It was first published in 1964 and has become one of Silverstein’s best-known titles. It was listed in the “Top 100 Picture Books” of all time in a 2012 poll by the School Library Journal.
It’s a story that tickled me tender, about a boy who visited a tree every day to eat its apples, swing from its branches and climb its trunk. And all the while, the tree was happy. As the boy grew older, he wanted more from the tree and the tree kept giving until there was almost nothing left to give.
If like me, you hadn’t read the story before, you can hear Shel reading it in this cliphttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TZCP6OqRlE.
When I turned the last page over, I was almost breathless and tearful, saddened by the wanting and greediness of the boy yet warmed and heartened by the giving of the tree. I wanted to be this beautiful loving tree that gave and gave until it had nothing left to give. I wanted to have the acceptance of this tree.
It loved the boy for who he was and not because the boy played on its trunk or swung from its branches. That didn’t matter to the tree, for the tree was happy when the boy visited and played and only wanted the boy to be happy. The tree was happy to see the boy and to help him be happy.
The story was a beautiful reminder of acceptance and the meaning of unconditional love. I wished that all humanity was like that but knew it wasn’t in its current state.
I wonder whether the Universe orchestrates things to send prompts like these when we need them most. We can’t always work and be the best we can, or continue on that ‘right’ consistency of life. We humans have our sugar highs and lows, dilutions and densities, and we need gentle reminders like these as ingredients to fuel us to grow as we should.
For me it was a reminder to find that patience and understanding to things that challenge me, to find that joy in life that rainbow painted finger nails can give me, and comfortability in being centred.
What was even more striking to me about this love story was that it came from a most considerate and thoughtful woman who embodied the essence of this story.
Thank you beautiful woman.