Take, for example, a tree in winter; it is fruitless, bare, ashen in color, and near lifeless; but more is going on than what meets the eye. Truth be told, it is in a season of loss and change.
The tree, once lush with foliage, undergoes a transformation far beyond its control. Weathered by time, the environment, or perhaps even sickness, its leaves try desperately to hang on, yet they fall. This has traumatic impact on the tree. Because of the loss it experiences and the bleak winter months that lie ahead, the tree goes into a period called dormancy.
While in its dormant stage, a chemical called ABA suspends all outward growth of the tree in order to conserve its energy, and its ability to withstand the approaching season. The tree does not require as much to eat during this time, but relies more on the food and nutrients it has stored in its body.
Though not visible to the eye, something significant is happening to the tree during this time. Its roots begin to grow ever-so-slowly, and throughout the cold winter these deepening roots are preparing the tree for its life ahead.
Time passes and the seasons change once again. The sun begins to shine brightly. The tree starts to feel and respond to the warmth that surrounds it. Tiny green buds of growth can be found on its branches signifying life returning to the tree.
The dormant season is over, and because of its deepened roots, the tree is now prepared to grow taller and stand stronger than ever. Though the old leaves can never be replaced, the new leaves bring a beauty all their own.
We too are like the tree.
- We experience seasons of loss and traumatic change that are beyond our control.
- We must conserve our energy for ourselves in order to work through our loss.
- We have roots in our surroundings that grow slowly during our dormant season, and this prepares us for our new life ahead.
- We begin to feel the sun shine (figuratively and literally), and we respond.
The winter of our grief can strengthen us and prepare us for a new life ahead, and just like the tree, we will bloom again.