Like Reeds and Cedars

By Jeff Thompson, Chaplain, NGHS

There is a story about a reed that grew alongside a river. As time went by, the reed continued to produce many shoots. Because its roots were plentiful, when the winds came, it was not uprooted from its place. It blew from side to side, but when the wind calmed down, it stood straight and firm again.

A cedar did not grow along the river. It did not produce new shoots and its roots were few. When the winds came and blew upon it, it was quickly uprooted and tossed from its place.

Moral:  A person with many friends is like the reed nurtured with many roots. The person who attempts to stand alone is more vulnerable to the winds of life’s stressors and is more easily toppled.

This pandemic has impacted our lives in many ways.  What began as a hope that COVID-19 would be over by the summer, has become a marathon of masks, social distancing, and limited opportunities to enjoy events outside our homes. It has been discouraging and exhausting. The pandemic has cast a cloud over our lives. During this virus wilderness, one thing that brings meaning to our lives has been seriously challenged. The pandemic has created a climate of isolation and aloneness. Our connectedness with those we love has been disrupted.  Without our connection with family and friends, we can become like the cedar. Connectedness is what gives our lives meaning.  Rabbi Harold Kushner once said, “The purpose of life is to grow and share.” We cannot allow the pandemic to quarantine our life’s purpose.

Therefore, do not succumb to fatigue, despair, and isolation. Reach out to others. Nurture your relationship roots. We are blessed today in that we have many opportunities to remain connected with our family and friends. Make a call, connect with Facetime, Skype, Zoom, send an email or text, check on your Facebook friends, visit with your neighbors, or use snail mail. Whichever mode you use, stay connected. Do not be like the cedar. Follow the example of the reed. At all times, but especially during this pandemic storm, find your strength from the nourishment of your relationship roots.