Branches and Trunks

Branches and Trunks

This has been a challenging season for all us struggling through the coronavirus, but this week has been especially so for me and my family. My 81yr old Dad had to have a critical surgery this week in a large city still in a strict covid-19 lockdown. Because of the complexity of the procedure, Dad would be required to travel to a hospital located in a big bustling city that my parents were unfamiliar with. One that is much different than their small Arkansas hometown.  Given the current environment, Dad would be required to go through the procedure, including several days in ICU and then several more days locked down in recovery and rehab, apart from his family and wife of 60+ years. I was fortunate to be able to jump on a plane – a singularly eerie and strange experience these days – and join my mom in our remote vigil from a temporary Airbnb apartment across the street from the hospital. Despite the circumstances, time spent with my mother and keeping all the rest of the family informed has been a true blessing in disguise. Difficult times draw us together and help us focus on what is really important in life and this week has definitely done that for us. Another positive is the location and view from our temporary apartment that looks out over a beautiful urban park.

This morning, as I was contemplating the past few days, I was mesmerized looking at the trees located in the park across the way. Following an overnight storm front, there was a brisk early spring wind blowing and the branches were swaying and moving all over the place in the breeze.  In stark contrast, I noticed that the trunks of the trees were not moving at all, or very little. I thought about how often when life is blowing at us from every direction its easy to be moved up, down, and all over the place like those branches. As I turned my gaze from branches to the trunks, I thought, isn’t it better to more like the trunk – steady, unmoving, and solid despite the storm and winds that blow? That reminded me of the sure foundation I have in my faith where despite any storms of life my sure foundation, my rock, my “trunk” does not waiver…and it brought me much peace in the storm we were in.

My dad came through the surgery in great shape but as I write this, he remains in ICU… and we wait with very little information coming from an overworked and understaffed team at the hospital. We are still anxious, but confidence grows with every passing hour. In the meantime, I continue to work remotely as our business is responding to the call to provide critical skilled workers to our partners across the country. So, the winds keep blowing but it struck me that I have a choice in how I face these challenges of life… and so do you. We can live in the branches being blown about and uncertain, or we can live as a trunk – steady and unwavering. None of us know how this pandemic will go, or if a loved one will survive a difficult procedure, or if our companies will be able to thrive and prosper, but we can remain strong in the storm. As the Psalmist declared, “one thing I know for sure, this I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.” I hope you choose to be a trunk rather than a branch in whatever storm you’re facing today.

Tim Raglin

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