As I cuddled with my little boy at 3:00 am, I couldn't help but stare at him in awe. What a miracle he is, and to think it all started from little more than a couple of cells. I stared at him for a long time, carefully examining his features: his chunky cheeks, his little nose, and his slightly stuffy breathing. It made me realize, how could anybody not love something so pure?
My mind then jumped to the oh-so-controversial debates these days about when a human actually becomes a human. I immediately pictured a tree in my mind.
Trees are not always big and beautiful. They take years and years to grow into something magnificent. They can become shade, a place to study, a place to play, a place to build on, and even a home for many creatures; but how do they start out? As a seed. They start as nothing but a simple, tiny seed. If we took that seed and crushed it, did we just kill a tree? Maybe by definition we did not, but we did kill it's potential. We killed that little seeds potential to enrich somebody's life, to provide shade in the heat of day, to look gorgeous in a back yard. More importantly, we killed the opportunity that seed had to become something living and growing. We took away the most precious gift we could; the gift of life.
I have heard some people say that it is okay to kill a young tree because the environment it would have been in was too terrible a place. No matter the conditions, that tree still has the opportunity to provide oxygen for us. It still has the opportunity to nest tiny creatures and to belong to a struggling, yet beautiful world. To take away a tree's potential is crueler than to let it live in a damaged garden.
Is it sometimes necessary to get rid of a tree? Yes. Sometimes they are planted after a fierce storm carried the seed to somewhere that it did not belong. Sometimes they can grow into the foundation of a home and destroy that home. However, why would you intentionally plant a seed if you do not want a tree? If you are not ready to water the tree, protect it from the wind and insects, trim back the branches; then do not plant the seed. Use caution as a gardener, because once you plant a seed it is yours to care for.
I came to the conclusion that it is not the here and now that matters. It is what can be, and what should be. When we look at others, we should look at their potential rather than their simpleness in the present.