What Can We Learn From Trees?

Having patience when building this life for myself is no easy task. It requires acknowledging all the unknowns and waiting for my story to unfold, however it may.

When I moved to Israel, I knew I would have to practice patience. I knew it would take time to get a job, create a support system, develop routines–to feel somewhat stable here. Although I’m definitely feeling more settled two months later, I am nowhere close to having most of it figured out. I feel like all I’ve done so far is plant seeds, and I’m still waiting for the fruits of my labor to emerge. 

To practice patience in my aliyah process means more than just accepting the abnormally slow pace of Israeli bureaucracy. It means accepting that it’s okay if I don’t have my dream job quite yet. That I have some friends, but maybe not a core group. That I don’t have plans for every Friday night dinner. That I still have quite a bit left to figure out.

Being patient is difficult because it’s in those moments of in-between that messy feelings come up. The anxiety, the stress, the fear, the worry, the doubt. Am I doing the right thing? What’s taking so long? Did I do something wrong? Am I even worthy of…?

Coincidentally–or maybe not (is anything really a coincidence?)–the Jewish holiday of Tu B’shvat came around right as I’m having these thoughts. Tu B’shvat celebrates the birthday of trees, but on a deeper level, it’s all about spiritual and emotional growth.

It represents the potential that exists when you choose an environment, plant a seed, invest time and energy, and ultimately experience growth because of these choices.

Tu B’shvat lands in the middle of winter because it celebrates the potential; the unlimited ways in which this next year can unfold and deliver beauty. It teaches us that the darkness of winter is where growth happens; that light doesn’t just come after darkness–it exists within it. That this is where the most beautiful trees and gardens begin–with just a bunch of dirt and rain. The dirt, the rain, and a whole lot of love and patience, produce infinite possibilities for the future, and that is surely something to celebrate.

There are days when I get frustrated with the pace at which my life is moving. It’s slow, uncomfortable, and at times scary, and there’s no easy way out. I just have to live in it. I have to inch towards my future and keep watering my seeds. I have to stop comparing myself to people who started their gardens before I did or had different growing conditions. 

Slowly, slowly, roots will take hold and things will start to blossom. In the meantime, I will work on myself and my relationships. I will figure things out. My story will continue to unfold.

I just have to be patient. 

As the saying goes, good things take time. 

And maybe great things take a little bit longer 🙂

Written by Jessica Bard.

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