The Tree

A few days ago I received an e-mail from a friend that prompted my article for this month:

I hired a handyman to do a lot of work at my house. There were major and minor projects to be accomplished and they were all well beyond my ability as an 'all thumbs, two left hands' kind of guy. After his first day on the job where everything that could go wrong did, (including his truck breaking down), I offered to drive him home. On the ride he sat in stony silence and made no comments other than giving me directions to his house.

Once we arrived at his home, he invited me in to meet his family and use his facilities (it was a long ride). As we were walking towards his front door he paused at a small tree on his lawn and touched two of the branches with his hands. He seemed to mutter something under his breath and continued on to the front door.

When his wife opened the door an amazing transformation took place. His dour expression changed to one of joy and happiness as he hugged and kissed his wife and two small children. He chatted with us all and could not have been more pleasant. The dark brooding person that was in my car was replaced by this picture of contentment and well-being. It was amazing. Afterward, as he walked me to my car, we passed by the tree he had paused at and my curiosity got the better of me. I had to ask him why he had paused there earlier.

"Oh, that's my trouble tree", he replied. "I know I can't help having troubles on my job or as I go through the day, but one thing is for sure, they don't belong in my house with my wife and kids". "So every night as I come home I touch the tree to hang my troubles there for the night and ask God to take care of them. In the morning I stop back at the tree and pick them up again".

"The funny thing about that is when I come out in the morning to pick them up, there aren't nearly as many of them and they sure don't seem quite as important as they did the night before."

Wouldn't it be great if we all did the same thing? It would do away with grudges, spite and pay-backs. It would allow us to enjoy what is important, cherish once-in-a-lifetime moments and prioritize our lives.

We have a great 'tree' we can use in 'hanging up' our industry woes in ARA, our international association. We have our co-workers and business associates we can use as our 'tree' for 'hanging up' our day-to-day business troubles. And we have our friends and our faith to act as our 'tree' when faced with the woes that seem insurmountable, but are just waiting for a place to be 'hung-up' and left to dry.

Of course, we all have to be the strong and sturdy 'trees' for those that need us as well. I think I am well on my way now that I am getting old, bent and gnarled. But you will have my strength when needed, if you want to branch out and reach up to the stars.

Gary Wiesner is co-owner of Pro-Auto Recyclers, Williamstown, New Jersey

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