For several years, I was part of a theater group that often performed the inspiring allegorical tale “The Man Who Planted Trees.” It’s the story of Elzéard Bouffier, an old shepherd who reforested a large region of Southern France by planting one tree at a time as he tended his sheep. This story was made into an Academy Award-winning animation,1 a BBC production, an acclaimed puppet show, and has inspired countless individuals to start tree-planting projects since it was first published by Jean Giono in 1953.
I’ve heard and read many encouraging stories about the positive aspects of people’s experiences embracing the changes that come with aging. Well, now it’s my turn! I’m discovering the benefits of embracing change in new ways.
Everyone has times in their life when they feel that they’ve reached bottom and that things couldn’t possibly get worse. For me, one of these times happened when I found myself having to cope with a totally unfamiliar lifestyle and surroundings in a village outside Belgrade.
I found a beautiful knit cardigan on sale at an exclusive store I was browsing through with my granddaughter. We were in an artsy shopping area enjoying an afternoon together. The sweater was the perfect shade of blue that I love and a kind of cotton that is practical for Texas summers.
Life is a constant stream of contradictions—things to hold on to, to let go of, to fight for, to give up. We’re told to try harder, to give ourselves a break, to loosen up, to make better choices, to just say yes, to just say no, to settle, to not settle. And to make matters worse, there’s always someone saying something like “just listen to your heart.” Right!
Have you ever thought of taking up a new sport, learning to play a musical instrument or just stepping out of your comfort zone to do something new and different? Perhaps the desire was always there but there was always something that was stopping you from actually doing it? Well, let me tell you a short, true story.
I read something the other day that’s been running through my mind ever since: “The system you have in place today is set up to get exactly the results you are getting today.” Since then, I’ve tried to challenge myself to have different reactions than I would typically have.
I had struggled with and overcome the demons of self-doubt and fear of failure, launched out into the deep, put pen to paper, and written my first short inspirational piece.
I sat back and read it through several times. Pleased with my modest effort, I submitted the piece to a monthly magazine for possible publication.
Each person is different and has different gifts and callings. God knew what He was doing when He made you the way you are, and He wants to use the talents He has given you and help you to develop them so that you can go further and make the most of your situation.
1. Make a list of all the good things you currently have in your life.