When I arrived the group was smaller than I had expected, they opened the circle and I joined in. They were grateful I had come and asked me to speak.
I told them a story about friendship and trust. I spoke about my experience and recognition of hatred and where it leads us. I spoke of the moment of choice to take another path.
I was preaching to the converted. They were peacemakers by definition, I was honored to be invited to lighten their dark, dangerous and courageous path with some tales.
Just one week later I found myself in a land that had been consumed again and again by hatred. Such dark and desperate times. And there, in the most unexpected place, in the least anticipated moment, he told me a story.
We were in a museum room that was designed to give a very realistic feeling of confinement, imprisonment and the death of the soul.
He offered me the gift of this story. He had tears in his eyes.
“There was once a tree that stood tall alongside two high walls. The tree was blown by wind that shed it’s seed on the ground at the base of it’s trunk. The walls were high and shaded the grass where the seeds fell. Little sunlight or rain penetrated the branches of the tall tree and the walls surrounding.
Nevertheless, the seeds took root and slowly they began to grow. Over the weeks and months and years a small tree grew in the tiny space beside the tall wall. It nearly didn’t survive.
But the roots began to grow and slowly they grew strong and spread wide. After several years the roots grew under the foundations of the walls. They struggled through, pushed and moved until the walls began to crumble.
The tree grew strong. The tree’s leaves reached out and touched those of the other so they formed a perfect canopy. Those walls that seemed so solid that they would last forever, were moved by the growth of a single tree.”
He smiled and moved on through the museum. Yes, it was so clear. The beauty and nature of a single tree can defeat the stupidity and force of mankind.
The walls will always crumble. It is in our nature to growth tall and strong so that we can connect and stand together. It is in our nature to be at peace.
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