Empty On The Inside
The other night, my sister and I heard a loud crash outside. We couldn’t figure out what the noise could have been but the next day, we discovered that one of the trees in our garden fell apart. One of the branches fell off and tore a huge part of the tree along with it only to reveal an even bigger problem: the inside of the tree was hollow! It even had honeycomb inside of it.
We got someone to inspect the tree the next day and turns out it’s not safe for us to keep the tree because if another strong wind blows it from the other direction, parts of the tree could break off and fall onto the roof.
This tree has been in our garden for as long as I can remember—it’s called a Flame of the Forest. When it’s in season, the branches are covered with bright red flowers and it looks like the tree is on fire hence the name. It’s a really stunning sight and I’ve had the pleasure of seeing the flowers in full bloom for so many years!
Before part of the tree fell off, none of us would have known that the tree wasn’t sturdy. From the outside, it looked strong and mighty but all it took was a strong gust of wind from a rainy night to reveal the tree was actually empty inside.
There were a few lessons I gathered from this incident:
➤ Pay attention to what’s ‘eating you up’. Our tree was rotting from the inside due to some kind of tree disease and it caused the bark of the tree to become weak and brittle. Oftentimes when we have an outward flaw like a blemish or a scar on our face, we will be quick to treat it but whenever the problem is something internal, we tend to delay the process or ignore it altogether because it can easily be hidden. Spiritual diseases such as envy (hasad) and pride (riya’) among many others, are invisible illnesses that we have to pay attention to. When left unchecked, it will grow bigger and harm us from within.
➤ People can’t hide their true character forever. Looks can be deceiving: you don’t know how a person really is on the inside until something happens to reveal their TRUE selves. Most of us have experienced this—we thought we knew someone until poverty or fame and success revealed their real character and their true intentions. Like the tree, its inside was only revealed after a storm.
➤ Examine how ‘safe’ it is for certain people to be in your life. Like our tree that was rotting from inside, it was no longer safe for us to keep it and we had to prioritise our safety over our attachment to its sentimental value. There are some people that we ‘keep’ in our lives simply because of our memories with them. Having history with someone doesn’t mean they deserve a spot in your life because anyone that brings more harm to you than joy, growth and stability, should not make it to your future.