Nature's lesson on relations

What I learned about brotherhood from the wind and the trees

I Had Been deeply troubled by accounts of racism I had been seeing. What surprised me was how my prayers for some insight on this issue were answered. It happened while working on our farm in rural North Carolina. I had been cutting trees to build a fence around a pasture when I decided to rest for a while. As I was sitting in the woods, looking up into the trees, I began to notice how they swayed together in the gentle breeze. The limbs on one tree moved in accord with the limbs on another tree, neither conflicting with the other. I noticed, too, that when trees had grown very close to each other, they had shed limbs over time, so as not to conflict with their neighbors. In fact, it looked as if they were embracing each other. Looking around in different areas, I noticed that when trees had been blown over by heavy winds, they were cradled in the limbs of the trees that were strong enough to withstand the elements.

All of this was very uplifting, but I didn't make any connection with race until I noticed that the trees were many different varieties—poplar, cedar, oak, pine, holly, and many others I could not identify. The cedars embraced the oak, the holly tickled the pines, and the poplar towered over them all as though sheltering dear friends.

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They are God's beloved children!
February 22, 1999
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