Earlier this spring, during one of the many storms that passed over our home, a tree came down. It was mature; for me the worse ones to fall. It was actually part of a triad that sat on the bank of our creek, and when my daughter was small it was lovingly named “The Pooh Tree.” It was the sort of space that invited you to climb around and settle yourself down to listen to the creek and watch the animals navigate life with each other.
I am pretty sentimental when we lose a tree, so I was rather surprised to find my response was more matter-of-fact than usual. The more surprising element of the story is that the tree still hasn’t died. The tree broke about four feet from the ground, tipped over, and landed it’s canopy on the opposite side of the creek. The maple has created a bridge from one bank to the other. At the time of this writing outside of a few damaged branches, the leaves are mostly green and growing. It has become a way for our four-legged, bushy tailed co-residents to navigate this year’s consistently high creek waters.
“Never let a good crisis go to waste.” ~ Winston Churchill
A couple of days ago I took a walking meeting with a colleague of mine. Walking together allows you to delve more deeply into conversations that conference rooms simply do not invite. We were discussing the challenging spot we find ourselves at work. She shared a phrase she keeps in mind during times like these: “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”
The quote has been attributed to Churchill post WWII, the event which ultimately birthed the United Nations. At first glance it may be easy to wonder what good came out of a the cruel situation of Nazi Germany. Amidst the pain and suffering a perfectly imperfect global council was created to tackle the world’s problems, together. While we are still learning how to do this, we have (for the most part) realized we cannot do this alone. We must come together and link arms.
We are experiencing a great deal of crises at the moment. Global situations press our daily lives. There are crises in our nation’s capital, in our corporations and in our corn fields. We have friends in the middle of cancer treatment, family members who don’t speak to one other and the climate of our blue, white and green home is collapsing. What does this bring?
Stress. Stress. Stress.
Never let a good crisis go to waste: knowing that within each hardship there is often a lesson, a gift or a something beneficial deep within the chaos. Somedays you really have to look hard. Somedays it is difficult to see. And on most days we need another person to stand with us, arm in arm, when the future is dark, so that we know we are not alone.
Our brokenness can land us on the other bank of life, disoriented. However it doesn’t leave us there. Our crisis can create a bridge for us to go somewhere we have never before been. It calls for new sight. It invites us to step back, look with fresh eyes, link arms with another and move forward.
Robert Frost wrote, “…the best way out is always through…” Consider this week what it means for you to go through your crises. With whom do you link arms? As you look into the future, what do you see? We cannot navigate this dark place alone. What does your bridge look like? And where it will take you? We need each other and we must remember to never let a good crisis go to waste.
Peace for this week’s journey.