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A Pine Tree in a Rock

    I can remember how when I was a young boy I used to love to go for walks in the woods of the mountains around my home. There was one place in particular that I greatly enjoyed going to. It was a huge rock that jutted out of the top of a hillside. It was a wonderful place to sit, rest, and think after a long walk. I enjoyed that it had its own shade too, because growing out of it was a rugged, majestic Pine tree that towered above all the other trees around it. That tree inspires me even today. It was living proof that it is not where you start out or where you are that matters. What matters is who you are.

    That glorious tree stood strong and tall even though it had to break its way through solid rock to reach the sunlight. That beautiful tree outgrew all the other trees around it even when it was deprived of the rich soil that they had in abundance. That fantastic tree gave a wonderful example to all who saw it that this life is not what you are handed but rather what you make of it.

    We all can be like that tree if we choose to. It doesn't matter if we have had painful childhoods or suffered in the past. We can grow through these rocks and become better and stronger for it. It doesn't matter if today we have much less than those around us. We can still choose, share, and grow in the blessed sunlight of God's love and joy that is free to us all. It doesn't matter what difficulties life has handed us. We can still be an example of kindness, goodness, peace, delight, love and happiness for all those around us. Like a Pine tree growing from a rock we can show the world that no obstacles can keep a soul from a glorious life of love, joy, and oneness with God.

    � Joseph J. Mazzella