The Purpose of Suffering

Jeris E. Bragan wrote about an old violin-maker who chose the wood for his instruments from the north side of the trees because this was the side that faced the fiercest windstorms. When the storms raged the trees groaned under the lashings but this is what gave them their strength. As the violin-maker said, "They are simply learning to be violins."

I once had a home on the top of the hills overlooking the beautiful city of Adelaide in South Australia. Most Adelaidians didn't like to live there because of the fierce winds that often blew. But the view of the city and the ocean beyond was magnificent. However, when I was landscaping our property, the nursery man told me it was better to get very small trees and if I stake them at all to be sure to stake them very loosely. Allow them to bend and go with the wind because this makes them develop a strong root system. When the trees grew and the winds raged, we lost a few branches but we never had a tree blow over.

Like the trees of the forest,

may I find nourishment

in rain as well as sunshine,


bend with the winds of misfortune

without breaking;

give of myself to others


to provide shade from the blistering heat,

grow old gracefully and not

become rigid or unbending;


and above all

may I keep reaching ever upwards

towards heaven and to God.


by Dick Innes, Daily Encounter Used by permission.

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