The Loss or the Lesson?

"How incredibly sad. The destruction of the creek along the banks has left behind a real mess. Look at all those roots exposed," he said.

I thought we were looking at two different things.

"Gee, I was just looking at that and found it incredibly fascinating. I guess you see the loss and I see the lesson," I told him.

Marianne and I decided to have lunch at one of our favorite restaurants. The Bear Creek Cafe is actually located on top of one of the small mountains that create the Wyoming Valley. A little over a year ago, the creek that runs past this beautiful place, flooded the entire area. It washed away the flowers, plants and some of the dreams of those who lived along it.

You can sit inside this small restaurant or dine outside among the wildflowers. The bird feeders provide entertainment of sorts as the native birds fly in and out regularly.

I'll admit the creek did wash away some of the most beautiful, natural plants leaving somewhat of an empty spot. But it also created something. A chance to see what lies beneath the beauty of the forest, the complex underground patterns created by growth, and I would guess survival.

The man standing next to me seemed a bit perplexed by my comment.

"Look at the root system of those trees. With the soil washed away we are able to see what made that tree grow so tall. Those roots run several yards in all directions," I said.

"But it looks ugly," he insisted.

"I would think that, too if I were to see the world in such simple terms, like black and white. Some see life and say, this is the way it should be and when it's not it's wrong. But look at what we can learn from this," I said pointing across the creek.

Taking a few steps closer to the man, I continued.

"That's life. That's humanity. The whole system works, exists there, because strength comes from a solid base. Growth comes from stretching far enough to find all you need to survive. The trees that didn't, dried up and withered. Our roots, grounded deeply in faith, help us weather the most destructive storms."

"But what about those fallen trees over there?" He asked.

"Look at their roots. They were mostly on the surface, not deep enough to hold them. They also stood alone," I said.

"What does that have to do with it?"

"The entire section that survived did so because they stood together. Look at how their roots are intertwined. The small trees and the bigger trees found their strength in unity," I said.

"So a person standing alone for what they believe in makes them weak?" He asked.

"If they stand on solid ground, rooted deep in moral principle, against all odds and for the good of all, they will survive, they will win. But unlike a tree against the mightiest storm, a human being has the ability to rise again after the fall," I said.

Then reaching for his hand I told him, "But that depends on whether one sees the "Loss or the Lesson."

We said our goodbyes and as we were leaving the restaurant I overheard him talking to another patron.

"Isn't that incredible? Look at that root system..."

He chose the lesson.

"I believe in you!" Bob Perks

Copyright (c) 2003, Bob Perks. I encourage you to share my stories with your friends but, when copying I ask that you keep my name and contact information attached along with this notice. Use of this story for commercial purposes is prohibited without direct permission from the author.

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