Once upon a time in a forest, there were two trees who miraculously had the ability to communicate with each other, but not in a creepy way like in the Wizard of Oz.

One of the trees was an Oak and the other a Willow.

challenging times

The Oak was tall and strong and mighty. He liked to make sure the Willow knew it.

“I am tall and strong and mighty,” the Oak would tell the Willow. “My roots are so firmly planted in the ground, nothing can move me. I am the greatest most stable tree in the forest.”

After hearing this so many times, the Willow just rolled her eyes. Or her leaves. Or whatever trees roll in situations like that.

She appreciated the Oak, even though he was kind of a jerk.

You see, the Willow was not as big and strong as the oak, but she liked who she was. She prided herself on her flexibility. She could bend with the wind and adapt to her changing surroundings when adaptation was needed.

“Yeah yeah, you’re tall and strong and mighty,” the Willow would say whenever the Oak was on his high horse. “But I can adapt and grow in any direction I choose.”

“Whatevs, Willow,” the Oak would respond. “Don’t worry, I will shade your small and thin little branches. I will take care of you if we ever have any challenging times.”

Life went on. Day after day, the Oak remained solid and stable in its roots. The Willow swayed and fluttered with the wind.

Then one day a big storm suddenly blew through the forest, because sometimes in life you get pummeled by pandemonium without any pre-warning.

The Oak, which prided itself on its strength, was too rigid to bend. The wind ripped off many of its branches and began upending some of its roots. Those were challenging times for that Oak. He emerged the next day pretty darn battered and bruised and torn to shreds.

The Willow, however, just swayed with the wind and adapted to whatever it encountered, as she always did. She came away unscathed.

She won’t admit it to anybody, but the storm gave the Willow so much confidence in who she was, she actually had fun.

After the storm, she felt more emotionally empowered than ever. She was proud of who she was and she continued to flourish.

The once mighty Oak, however, was set back in his growth. He spent years trying to regain all he had lost.