The tree of life

I received an email this morning from someone I used to be close to. Nothing happened to cease the friendship, she just kind of went away-- I haven't spoken to her in months. Years ago this would've torn me up, but now I just accept it as life and file that person away into one of my many friend categories.
A few years ago I was watching a Tyler Perry play (I can't remember which one) and Madea was referring to the people in our lives as parts of a tree and that has stuck with me ever since. The people closest to you that you do not, could not, would not live without are your roots. The roots keep the tree standing during the storm and are it's main support system. They also feed the tree and give it all of its sustenance. The branches are people close to the tree, but aren't as close as the roots. They are attached to the tree, but sometimes they can be flimsy and with even a little bit of weight put on them they break off. Even the strongest of branches can die and break off, and they all sway with the wind. Lastly are the leaves. They look really pretty, they are flashy and fun and bring a lot of color to the tree's life--but they are only there for a season and then they go away. They have no significan't hold on the tree and with one good gust of wind they leave.
Over the past few years I have begun the process of weeding out the people in my life. See, normally I am the caretaker. It's in my blood, it's just how I roll. After a few significan't events that made me see how shallow some of my "friendships" were, I decided to take a step back and stop being the attentive one. The faithful one who always sent the birthday/I'm thinking of you/get well cards, stopped calling to make sure they were ok because it had been too long since we'd spoken, would arrange lunches, buy Christmas gifts, etc. I stopped all of it and pulled way, way back. What happened was that my fears were confirmed--most of my friends fell off the face of the earth.
Once in a while when I bump into them, I'll hear "I'm so glad to see you! I've missed you so much! Where have you been??" But the truth is, they don't value my friendship and are merely leaves or weak branches or else they would know where I've been because they would have been getting ahold of me if they hadn't heard from me. It's been a somewhat painful process watching people that I cared about float away, but it's also been good because I now know who the very core group of people are in my life. I know who is there no matter what and through thick and thin. I've also learned who I care enough about to be a good friend to them--who I'm picking up the phone to call and check up on when I don't hear from them for a few days. Those are my roots--the rest are just leaves.

There comes a point in your life when you realize

who matters,

who never did,

who won't anymore...

and who always will.

So, don't worry about people from your past,

there's a reason why they didn't make it to your future.


Adwen, the Green Fairy said...

well said, the tree is such a good visual. Thank you for the reminder. I need to apply it to my own life (don't worry, you're not a leaf). I have realized that I'm a nurturer and a people pleaser. It's lead to some very sad moments when I've realized that I'm doing all the work and those people could care less that I moved mountains to make their lives special. Thank you for the reminder. Love you!

Kim said...

I really liked this post. How I agree! You can always know who your true friends are by actions - actions speak MUCH louder than words. I really loved the last 2lines of the poem. I value my friends who have stuck by through thick and thin. Few are those true friends, but what treasures they are.

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