Some weeks ago, I had to uproot two potted trees in my garden because their roots had found their way out of the pots and were delving into the earth beneath. As I live in a condo and the estate rules only allow residents to grow potted plants, I had no choice but to ask the gardener to help me pull the roots out of the soil before they got too entrenched, and move the pots to different spots.
A couple of days later, I was horrified to see that the leaves on both trees were turning brown, and in the following weeks, they began to drop by the dozen. Had I killed them by doing what I did?
Someone comforted me by saying that sometimes, when plants are uprooted and replanted, they drop all their leaves and flowers before regenerating. So I prayed and waited with bated breath to see if this, indeed, was what was happening with my beloved trees.
The hardest thing was having to watch, helplessly, as they seemed to die before my very eyes. Every day, more leaves shrivelled up and dropped despite watering and care. Since we had them put into large pots in the garden just outside our unit, these trees have given my husband and me countless mornings of quiet joy, just watching little birds perch on their branches and drawing straw-like twigs from them for their nest-building.
I apologised profusely for any hurt or harm that I might have inadvertently caused by uprooting them, and I asked for the help of the fairies and nature spirits to heal them.
But still they continued to shed, until all I saw one morning were the skeletal remains of my once beautiful, thriving trees. As I looked at them and mourned, the angels whispered, “They are showing you what it means to die to the old and be born again into the new. Have patience, and learn what they have to teach you.”
Then my husband and I had to go away for almost two weeks. On the morning that we left, one tree was completely bare, and the other was well on the way to being the same. I made arrangements for the trees to be watered every day while we were away, for I would not give up my hope of a miracle.
We came home last week to find one tree bursting with beautiful new leaves and the other almost barren, with dead leaves stubbornly clinging to the branches. I was delighted with the transformation of the first tree, and I knew then that I was being granted the privilege of witnessing and learning about the power of transformation in my own backyard – literally.
Yesterday morning, I looked out my balcony and gasped. Not because the birds were back, flitting about the branches of the first tree as it stood tall and beautiful. But because the once-bare branches on the lower half of the second tree were now sprouting fresh, bright green leaves. That which had seemed lifeless just the day before had, overnight, resurrected and been reborn. The topmost branches might still have some dead leaves on them, but I know that they will soon drop off to make way for the new.
This, then, was the lesson the angels had spoken of. This is what it means when we speak of death and rebirth.
Just like the trees, we can be uprooted and challenged when we least expect it. When everything we have or think we need in order to function is cut off, and we are moved away from all that is familiar and comfortable; when we are placed in an environment so very different from what we are used to or hoped for, and are left to find our bearings; when the abilities that we have always taken for granted no longer produce the usual results; when we are mired in self-doubt or fear, and are unable to move forward … all this – and, sometimes, more – is what the Universe allows to happen in order to give us the opportunity to dig deep and discover within ourselves strength, resilience, and courage that we never realised we had.
Often, the “dying” process causes the most pain, takes the most time, brings up our worst fears. Because it is in our nature to cling to the dear and familiar, to resist change, to want validation for all that we do, to demand guarantees and not take risks. Most of all, we dread being alone in the dark; we hate to be still and allow nature to take its course.
But like the trees, we need to dig deep to find strength; adapt to change in order to thrive. We should not be afraid to shed what no longer serves, or the new and the relevant cannot come through.
So when things seem to come to a standstill, know that it is simply God’s way of making us rest and recharge, to allow us to integrate all that we have learnt and experienced thus far, so that – in Divine timing – our soul can sprout and grow.