During my current garden renovation, I’ve rediscovered a little tree I planted a number of years ago. It is still alive, but small for the time its been in the ground. A similar one I planted at the front of my house 3 or 4 years later, is now roof height! This poor baby is under 2 metres tall.
It’s not surprising it hasn’t grown much.
Growing over it was a tangle of branches from shrubs out of control. There was barely any light. Under the ground there would be competition for water and nutrients.
The thing about this tree though – it was planted with a friend in mind.
For a while it was special to me, as was my friendship. I hoped the tree would reflect our friendship and grow strong and healthy.
But it has kind of gone the way of the friendship.
It has been hidden away in the dark, stunted and denied the light it needed to flourish. The tree has been choked by vigorous, twining branches, much like the friendship was choked by misunderstandings and hurt feelings.
I felt so much sadness when I saw the tree.
It could have been thriving and beautiful.
My friendship could have been thriving and beautiful.
I’ve never really grieved the passing of that friendship properly. I never really let it go. When I’ve thought of my friend I’ve alternated between anger and shame, longing and deep regret. I miss my friend.
I don’t know if my friendship will ever be what it was. Maybe one day we can cut through the past hurts, and reach an understanding of each other that allows our friendship to grow again, in a healthier way, that helps the both of us to thrive.
In the meantime I’ve cut away the overhead branches from the little tree, and untangled the ones that had wrapped around it. I’ve cleared away the weeds and leaf litter at its base. I’ve opened up the area around it to the fresh air and sunlight.
How the tree grows now is up to it. I’ve done all I can. It will grow and thrive as it will, or not. I just have to let it do its thing now. I have to let go of the expectation that it should be bigger and healthier by now.
Much like my friendship.
It didn’t work out how I expected it to.
I’m letting go of those expectations.
I’m letting out the tears that I’ve held on to.
I’m untangling and cutting away all the hurts and regrets in my heart that I’ve allowed to keep me trapped in the dark.
I’m letting in the fresh air and sunlight. Let’s see how I grow.