I found a tree several years ago that upon hugging led me to find a peace in my writing that previously had not been achieved. I hug it every night before falling asleep.  

Epoch Time: 631,152,000 seconds

Parental Immersion Time: 907,200 seconds
Research Time: 47,336,400 seconds

I’d dedicated 7.5% of my life towards studying my father after he’d been personally exposed to .01% of mine.

Post the results of both exposure and study, the trajectory of my life for the next twenty years had been altered.

I’d been in school studying to become a teacher and on the weekends had attended an occasional writing workshop for fun. In expressing this to my father he returned what I perceived at the time to be harsh commentary to my endeavors.

He’d expressed that being a teacher was somehow ‘beneath me’ and that God had intended I do ‘more’ with my life and that ‘writing’ would be a waste of time and could never be authentic if undertaken for money.  On teaching, his reasoning was that I was too ‘smart’ to teach ‘juvenile’ subjects. On writing, he expressed a writer must cater to and direct his pen to man’s interests and whims if he had hope of earning a living and that accordingly the writer’s thoughts and purpose would be led by the world, thus inauthentic.

I’d never told him the writing was just for me and that I’d derived great joy from the teaching I’d studied and had been exposed to practicing. I instead considered that pursuing joy was perhaps a selfish endeavor so stopped going to school and attending the workshops. With my extra time I studied him to understand his truth, that it might guide me to understand mine.

Looking back, it pains me to realize how easily influenced and manipulated I’d chosen to be. Yet it also showed me how influence and manipulation can become the seeds planted in a child who can’t make such a choice and how lost they can grow to be in navigating their path and defining themselves in the world.

He could not know the damage that would be felt in sharing his opinions because they were after all just opinions.  It showed me how important it is to try to understand someone before applying ones thoughts as fact or opinion towards their choices in life. This is not my strength either so I’m in constant states of improvement.

I don’t believe in the undertaking of attempting to understand others without having first undertaken the same attempt to understand oneself.  One yields the fruit of compassion for the other as the tree of knowledge never stands disconnected from either the hungry or overfed.

There is as much to be fed as there is to eat and if we can take up our studies in love then our teaching has the capability to leave everyone we touch in that same state, no matter how near or far to the tree they’ve chosen to stand.  It is powerful to know that we can choose to allow love to be the only thing that we feed to others.

Although it isn’t how I envisioned it, my roles today naturally lend themselves to teaching and my writing lends itself to the purpose intended years ago.

Though our parents, teachers, mentors and leaders might offer prescriptions or alternatives to the ways we choose to live, that which is planted within us before birth never goes away and as such, those that pour salt into our nature with intent to kill our roots will yield chaos to our lives because our souls have a purpose that seeks to be fulfilled.  That chaos can’t yield to peace until we water those roots with our own sweat and tears and no matter what anyone says, they never go rotten.

Though my father’s words seemed judgemental and harsh at the time, I believe he meant them for encouragement and even if he didn’t, I’ve found encouragement in them because I’m hard-wired to find light in darkness.

The truth is, we all are.  It’s the only reason we return to eat of the tree.