Valuable You

While visiting a garden in Hilton Head I noticed a dead tree among several majestic oaks. Perhaps it was struck by lightning or maybe it was diseased.  I wondered why the gardeners didn’t cut the dead tree down. It was an eyesore. All the other trees had lacy ferns and velvety moss growing along their thick branches. Spanish moss hung from every branch like a shawl.

And then my gaze fell on this sign in front of the dead tree.


Wow. Who knew? This sign changed the way I viewed the dead tree among the beautiful ones. It was no longer an eyesore, but a refuge and valuable. The filter of my understanding was altered.  In just a few seconds my estimation for that tree rose to new heights.

In human society we admire pretty people. People who did nothing to earn their beauty. They just inherited great genes. And yet they are held in highest esteem, envied, and emulated. Those who are considered passable or homely are often ignored, even mocked. There are also those whose lives have been struck by a firebolt or altered by disease.  Are they any less valuable?


True beauty is hidden deep in the soul. We see it in the way people conduct themselves, how they treat others, and what they contribute to their communities and the world.  And in my humble opinion, those who have soul beauty grow more physically attractive with each passing year. As a society, we need our filters altered. We need to seek the good in others. How wonderful it would be to appreciate their strengths and talents over their physical appearance.

Do you feel unimportant and over looked? Please, look in the mirror today and say to the reflection, “You are valuable.”


Because you are!


All Is Not Lost

A Parable

by Linda Apple

Once there was a very conscientious leaf who took it’s job of feeding the tree very seriously. Even though it had sprouted on the lowest branch, it would stretch as far as it could to find the sun.

One day a young child walked by and stripped the leaf from the limb, then threw it on the ground. The leaf was upset at being torn from the tree so early in its life. It despaired at not being allowed to fulfill its purpose. Day after day it laid on the ground and watched all the other leaves feeding the tree, fulfilling their purpose, while it dried up.

One evening it whispered to the tree, “Tree, I’m so sorry I failed you.”

The tree answered, “Oh, leaf. You haven’t failed me. Just rest. Soon the earth will incorporate you and push you into my roots. Then you will not only feed me, you will become a part of me.”

Peace and happiness filled the leaf. It would get to fulfill its purpose after all, just not in the way it first thought.

Life has a way of stripping us from our branch, doesn’t it? But that doesn’t mean our only choice is to dry up and blow away. Sometimes these set backs give us a greater purpose.  The wisdom we glean, the lessons we learned, and the wisdom we gained not only makes us stronger, but gives us something of value  to invest in others.