The world puts people in boxes: you’re female so you feel like this, you’re Christian so you think like this, you’re American so you act like that…
God likes to mix things up to help break the social/tradition walls we build between people. Just consider the movie Hidden Figures (based on a true story) where we see brilliant, computer-like brains placed in– not just black, but black, female bodies– in 1960s America. LOL, God is such a rebel…
My own “packaging” has encountered difficulties from others and groups, including (especially?) Christian ones. You may start to doubt yourself and your very identity, but don’t. Ever. Besides, how will we learn to be more concerned with what’s inside a person (the way God sees us) than externalities like race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, country of origin, status, etc., if our “boxes” are never challenged?
So I started thinking about people like trees, each with different abilities, location, design… You’d never ask a Pine to be an Aspen, or expect an Oak to taste like Maple. We are each unique and of total, absolute value in our own right, just because we Exist. No ‘tree’ is better than any other and each should be respected As Is.
Including those Weeping Willows that seem to be the “hot mess” of any landscape.
Droopy and often solitary by the waters edge, everything else so strong and “put together” around it. ‘You cry too much…’ ‘Why are you so emotional..?’ ‘You take everything too personally… You take everything too seriously…’ ‘Why are you so affected by things happening to people you don’t even know?’ ‘Are you crying about that creature..?’ …
The assessments and bewilderments can seem endless, and for those of us who ever identified with the Willow we may also be wondering: what the hell is wrong with me??
Well, what if nothing is wrong with you at all?
Is it strange an increased amount of people are identifying as “highly sensitive”? There are so many people –some say even a generation– so passionate about kindness and equality for everyone (Every. One.) that they’ve been labelled “Snowflakes,” and the term has been used as an insult–
As if softness and care for another was something to be ashamed of.
What if God has been pouring out the deepest parts of His Heart and Sensitivity in this specific time on earth? If the war between Love and Hate will climax, then surely an extraordinary Love must exist on earth to stand in the gap and fight– not just for the vulnerable and oppressed, but for those —get this— oppressing others.
If you ever identified with a Willow, with frequent heartache or tears (in spirit or flesh), I want to share three encouragements:
- Look at the location of a Willow. If water is symbolic of God’s Love (consider the oceans and try to fathom their depth and breadth, look at your body’s composition and your greatest need…), then maybe these “weepers” are knee deep in God’s Heart, grief and all. If we say God never grieves (or rages), we never fathomed the days of Noah, nor contemplated the regular pleading of Jesus with “loud cries and tears” (Heb. 5:7), nor considered the deep horrors we are capable of committing against man, woman, child and creatures. It’s OK to feel and to feel deeply.
Imagine how different the world would be if everyone did.
- Willows provide tremendous shade for others. These big, flopping, hanging over trees are revered by landscapers and park enthusiasts for the environment they create. In your tenderness and care you can be a deep blessing for others. A source of comfort and compassion so needed in this world of “me” first.
- Aspirin/Painkillers are made from the Willow. Not only can you help bless or bring relief for others on earth, but your tears are surely making a difference in the heavenlies/unseen too. Maybe your deepest longing is the end of all suffering, or the absolute equality of all mankind, including children. Don’t think your prayer isn’t important or heard–aren’t these some of the deepest cries of God’s Heart?
A world that mocks sensitivity is a world that surely needs more of it.
Fellow Willows, your sensitivity, unlike everything you may have been told, is a Strength. Like a super power capable of rejecting age-old traditions because they oppress or hurt others, or tender enough to identify and come alongside the hurting who may be hidden, and even a sensitivity wild enough to declare: ‘if it’s us or them, it’s us for them.’
You are Affirmed, Powerful, and maybe more Needed than you dared dream! Own it.