"Growth Points"

Feb 29, 2024
When we moved to Ohio in 2013, a tiny stick was growing in the backyard planter. It doubled and then tripped in size. Within a handful of years it had grown up to my second floor bedroom window, and a few years later I was shaded by the afternoon sun by our "tree of heaven." (Yes, that's its real name, which delights me.)
One winter this tree of heaven delivered a message to me from heaven. I was observing this tree that had dropped all its leaves and small branches. While the limbs were empty, I could see where the new branches would grow in the spring. It fascinated me. The tree had already determined where it would focus energy to nurture growth in the spring. "Growth points."  The phrase came into my mind. "You have growth points too, Emily."
The tree wasn't weak or "not enough" because it had spots where future growth would come. Why did I criticize myself at times for growth that hadn't happened yet?
That moment influenced how I see my own weakness and my own growth. Instead of lamenting the bleak stagnancy of winter I see in leafless trees, I can celebrate "growth points" and have eyes to see what awaits in coming seasons. Instead of lamenting how I didn't respond well in an emotionally charged interchange, I can celebrate that I didn't take on someone else's emotions as much as before. I can celebrate how new boundaries are fostering healthier dynamics, even though it's still small. I can commit to nurturing my growth and the growth of others rather than focusing on what hasn't matured yet.
I can seek out a mentor.
I can be persistent at practicing a new skill.
I can journal about questions and insights.
I can follow a prompting even though it's outside my comfort zone and I won't like it.
I can say "yes" when I normally would say no.
I can say "no" when I normally would say yes.
I can be still...and know that's enough too.
I was out on a walk recently and noticed the growth points on a tree in my new yard. Spring is coming. Growth is coming. I can make space for growth and celebrate tiny progress. It may still feel tangled or undone. It may still feel like winter. But it's a growth point, and recognizing growth points is a delightful thing!