When the Bough Breaks: A fallen limb in a friendship is not a dead tree.

Its is the second worst storm I endured since I moved to Texas, making it the second worst storm of my life.  I had been praying, trying to center, and needing to be present.  The storm hit my house exactly within the first five minutes of sitting down with someone for spiritual direction.  The wind was rattling the windows and tossing bits of the back yard around.  The whole house chilled.    I considered ending our time together because I was able to give the moment only 99% of my attention.  I was being tugged away by one haunting thought.  Will the tree hold?

The tree has been dead for some time and I knew it was coming down soon.   I had just days before submitted a request for the landlord to have it taken down but I hadn’t been expecting a storm of this magnitude to come through or I would have put a rush on it. That is why I couldn’t shake the voice in the back of my head that said, “it is coming down and its going to take part of the roof with it.”   It was a voice I could quiet but not silence.  Then I heard the thud and as strange as it seemed, I was relieved and the voice went away.

At that point whatever was done, was done.   I knew it wasn’t going to knock a full hole in the roof and I didn’t have to risk water damage.  Nothing needed immediate attention.  Oddly, I felt a little childish.  I was holding on to something I had no control over.    I had been putting the wrong kind of energy in to the wrong task.

Interestingly I have had another running thread of voices in my head regarding another matter.  I have been struggling through a hard passage  in  an old friendship. It has claimed a running thread of thoughts in the back of my head at all times.

This week, a limb fell.  I had been dreading the mere possibility of having what happened, happen in our friendship.  The minute I heard the thud, however, there was a spark of forgiveness.

Again I felt a little childish.  It didn’t require immediate attention and I knew it wasn’t going to bring the house down.   I  been putting the wrong kind of energy into the friendship.  I was going to be ok, and most importantly, a fallen limb does not mean a dead tree.  In fact, it allows more resources to the parts of a friendship that are still thriving.  Trees want to grow.

Wisdom will, from time to time, ask us to let things play themselves out, at least for a period of time.    There is such a thing as a holy disappointment. We can come back later with new insights, fresh perseptive, and most of all, faith.    Boughs break, childhoods fall,  and whether or not we grow in wisdom depends entirely on the extent to which we can believe that there is a God, and that it isn’t me.

The only thing that was hurt in my backyard was a bed of flowers.  The Copper Canyon Daisy exploded into a delicate citrusy perfume and just today the seed pods on the Butterfly Weed burst sending actual bits of new life all around, even onto the fallen limb.

Like it or not, we are still in the Easter season.  In some sense we always are.  Limbs fall, plants grow, and it all serves to remind us …the impossible may take a little while.

Then I looked up: The Shocking Revelation that plants want to Grow
Unless Our Hopes Fall to the Ground and Die…

Disappointment with God

Welcome, Let us Work Toward a Hard Good-Bye


  • Dianne Muchow

    Had one of these experiences this week. I chose to freak out over something that one person was doing in my life and ended up hurting another. Stupid and exhausting, really. The one who hurt me has done so before and likely will again. The one that I hurt was an innocent bystander that got sucked into the fray. I think that the most important lesson that I’ve learned from this week’s events is that I don’t need to run from all of the people in my life because one person is hurting me. I was ready to chuck out the baby, the bathwater, the tub, soap and anything else within reach… Not too smart. Anxiety can sometimes foster really dumb responses.

  • Julia

    Sometimes I need to adjust my boundaries with someone. It doesn’t mean the relationship is over, just that I need to adjust what I’m bringing to the relationship for my own sake. Sometimes I’m letting someone move away. Sometimes I’m letting someone closer in. I grieve the having-to-let-go sometimes, but the real grief comes with a severing of the relationship altogether, whether by death or abandonment. As long as it’s not severed, there’s still connection, and reciprocal love.