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By Tyler Perry –

I have this tree analogy when I think of people in my life, be it friends, family, acquaintances, employees, co-workers, whomever…They are all placed inside what I call my tree test. It goes like this:

LEAF PEOPLE
Some people come into your life and they are like leaves on a tree. They are only there for a season. You can’t depend on them or count on them because they are weak and only there to give you shade. Like leaves, they are there to take what they need and as soon as it gets cold or a wind blows in your life they are gone. You can’t be angry at them, it’s just who they are.

BRANCH PEOPLE
There are some people who come into your life and they are like branches on a tree. They are stronger than leaves, but you have to be careful with them. They will stick around through most seasons, but if you go through a storm or two in your life it’s possible that you could lose them. Most times they break away when it’s tough. Although they are stronger than leaves, you have to test them out before you run out there and put all your weight on them. In most cases they can’t handle too much weight. But again, you can’t be mad with them, it’s just who they are.

ROOT PEOPLE
If you can find some people in your life who are like the roots of a tree then you have found something special. Like the roots of a tree, they are hard to find because they are not trying to be seen. Their only job is to hold you up and help you live a strong and healthy life. If you thrive, they are happy. They stay low key and don’t let the world know that they are there. And if you go through an awful storm they will hold you up. Their job is to hold you up, come what may, and to nourish you, feed you and water you.

Just as a tree has many limbs and many leaves, there are few roots. Look at your own life. How many leaves, branches and roots do you have? What are you in other people’s lives?

THANK GOD FOR YOUR ROOTS!
You may want to call them today or share this message with them and attach your own note saying, “thanks for being my root”.

By the way, don’t waste your time sharing this with a leaf, they won’t get it anyway.

Here is Tyler Perry saying it far more effectively in his play –

 

That Friend Walking Behind Me

Audio reading of this post

Imagine that for many years a friend had been walking a block behind me, calling my name, trying to get my attention because he wanted to tell me some hard but healing truths about myself. But I — afraid of what I might hear, or arrogantly certain I had nothing to learn — ignored his calls and kept on walking.

So my friend came closer and called my name louder, but I walked on, refusing to turn around. Closer still he came, now shouting my name. Frustrated by my lack of response, he began to throw stones and hit me with sticks, still wanting nothing more than to get my attention. But despite the pain I felt, I kept walking away.

Since calls and shouts, sticks and stones, had failed to get my attention, there was only one thing left for my friend to do: drop the bomb called depression on me. He did so not with intent to kill, but in a last-ditch effort to get me to turn toward him and ask a simple question: “What do you want?” When I finally made that turn — and began taking in and acting on the self-knowledge he’d been waiting to offer me — I took first steps on the path to wellbeing.

Thomas Merton’s name for that friend is “true self.” This is not the ego self that wants to inflate us. It’s not the intellectual self that wants to hover above life’s mess with logical but ungrounded ideas. It’s not the ethical self that wants to live by someone else’s “oughts.” It’s not the spiritual self that wants to “slip the surly bonds of Earth” and fly nonstop to heaven.

True self is the self with which we arrived on earth, the self that simply wants us to be who we were born to be. True self tells us who we are, where we are planted in the ecosystem of life, what “right action” looks like for us, and how we can grow more fully into our own potentials. As an old Hasidic tale reminds us, our mission is to live into the shape of true self, not the shape of someone else’s life: “Before he died, Rabbi Zusya said: ‘In the world to come they will not ask me, ‘Why were you not Moses?’ They will ask me, ‘Why were you not Zusya?’”

Memo to myself: Stay on the ground, turn around, ask and listen! True self is true friend — it’s a friendship we ignore at our peril. And pass the word: friends don’t let friends live at altitude!

– by Parker Palmer (Jun 13, 2016)

Source: Gate A-4 by Naomi Shihab Nye

Wandering around the Albuquerque Airport Terminal, after learning my flight had been delayed four hours, I heard an announcement: “If anyone in the vicinity of Gate A-4 understands any Arabic, please come to the gate immediately.” Well— one pauses these days. Gate A-4 was my own gate. I went there.

An older woman in full traditional Palestinian embroidered dress, just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing. “Help,” said the flight agent. “Talk to her . What is her problem? We told her the flight was going to be late and she did this.”

I stooped to put my arm around the woman and spoke haltingly. “Shu-dow-a, shu-bid-uck, habibti? Stani schway, min fadlick, shu-bit-se-wee?” The minute she heard any words she knew, however poorly used, she stopped crying. She thought the flight had been cancelled entirely. She needed to be in El Paso for major medical treatment the next day. I said, “No, we’re fine, you’ll get there, just late, who is picking you up? Let’s call him.”

We called her son, I spoke with him in English. I told him I would stay with his mother till we got on the plane. She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just for the fun of it. Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while in Arabic and found out of course they had ten shared friends. Then I thought just for the heck of it why not call some Palestinian poets I know and let them chat with her? This all took up two hours.

She was laughing a lot by then. Telling about her life, patting my knee, answering questions. She had pulled a sack of homemade mamool cookies— little powdered sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and nuts— from her bag and was offering them to all the women at the gate. To my amazement, not a single traveler declined one. It was like a sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the mom from California, the lovely woman from Laredo— we were all covered with the same powdered sugar. And smiling. There is no better cookie.

Then the airline broke out free apple juice and two little girls from our flight ran around serving it and they were covered with powdered sugar too. And I noticed my new best friend— by now we were holding hands— had a potted plant poking out of her bag, some medicinal thing, with green furry leaves. Such an old country traveling tradition. Always carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere.

And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and thought, This is the world I want to live in. The shared world. Not a single person in that gate— once the crying of confusion stopped— seemed apprehensive about any other person. They took the cookies. I wanted to hug all those other women too.

This can still happen anywhere. Not everything is lost.

This song in hindi was very popular from the movie Jurm. The hindi lyrics were by Indeevar.
Here is the earliest recording of the American folk song by The Journeymen in 1961 which Music Director Rajesh Roshan copied.

If you miss the train I’m on,
You will know that I am gone,
You can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles.
A hundred miles, a hundred miles,
A hundred miles, a hundred miles,
you can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles.

 

Lord, I’m one, Lord, I’m two, Lord,
I’m three, Lord, I’m four, Lord,
I’m five hundred miles a way from home.
Away from home, away from home,
Away from home, away from home,
Lord, I’m five hundred miles away from home.
Not a shirt on my back,
Not a penny to my name.
Lord, I can’t go back home this-a way.
This-a way, this-a way,
This-a way, this-a way,
Lord, I can’t go back home this-a way.

If you miss the train I’m on,
You will know that I am gone,
You can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles.
A hundred miles, a hundred miles,
A hundred miles, a hundred miles,
You can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles.

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