Remember the story about the three trees? I had a difficult time pronouncing “three trees” and I always made them “tea trees” when I tried to include them in one of my graduation speeches. Truth be told, I came across to having read this story through a flier and it served as a filler. The author has to forgive me because her or his name was not cited in the flier. Someday I will have to say thank you because until now, the story of the three trees is still very vivid in my mind and has filled me with inspiration ……
“Once upon a mountain top, three little trees stood and dreamed of what they wanted to become when they grew up. The first little tree looked up at the stars and said: ” I want to hold treasure. I want to be covered with gold and filled with precious stones. I’ll be the most beautiful treasure chest in the world!” The second little tree looked out at the small stream trickling by on it’s way to the ocean. ” I want to be traveling mighty waters and carrying powerful kings. I’ll be the strongest ship in the world! The third little tree looked down into the valley below where busy men and women worked in a busy town. I don’t want to leave the mountain top at all. I want to grow so tall that when people stop to look at me they’ll raise their eyes to heaven and think of God. I will be the tallest tree in the world.
Years, passed. The rain came, the sun shone and the little trees grew tall. One day three wood cutters climbed the mountain. The first wood cutter looked at the first tree and said, “This tree is beautiful. It is perfect for me.” With a swoop of his shining ax, the first tree fell. “Now I shall make a beautiful chest, I shall hold wonderful treasure!” the first tree said.
The second wood cutter looked at the second tree and said, “This tree is strong. It’s perfect for me.” With a swoop of his shining ax, the second tree fell. “Now I shall sail mighty waters!” thought the second tree. ” I shall be a strong ship for mighty kings!”
The third tree felt her heart sink when the last wood cutter looked her way. She stood straight and tall and pointed bravely to heaven. But the wood cutter never even looked up. “Any kind of tree will do for me.” He muttered. With a swoop of his shining ax, the third tree fell.
The first tree rejoiced when the wood cutter brought her to a carpenter’s shop. But the carpenter fashioned the tree into a feed box for animals. The once beautiful tree was not covered with gold, or treasure. She was coated with saw dust and filled with hay for hungry farm animals. The second tree smiled when the wood cutter took her to a shipyard, but no mighty sailing ship was made that day. Instead the once strong tree was hammered and awed into a simple fishing boat. She was too small and too weak to sail to an ocean, or even a river, instead she was taken to a little lake. The third tree was confused when the wood cutter cut her into strong beams and left her in a lumberyard. “What happened?” The once tall tree wondered. ” All I ever wanted was to stay on the mountain top and point to God…”
Many days and nights passed. The three trees nearly forgot their dreams. But one night, golden starlight poured over the first tree as a young woman placed her newborn baby in the feed box. “I wish I could make a cradle for him.” Her husband whispered. The mother squeezed his hand and smiled as the starlight shone on the smooth and sturdy wood. ” This manger is beautiful.” She said. And suddenly the first tree knew he was holding the greatest treasure in the world.
One evening a tired traveler and his friends crowded into the old fishing boat. The traveller fell asleep as the second tree quietly sailed out into the lake. Soon a thundering and a thrashing storm arose. The little tree shuddered. She new she did not have the strength to carry so many passengers safely through the wind and the rain. The tired man awoke. He stood up, stretched out his hand, and said, “Peace.” The storm stopped as quickly as it had begun. And suddenly the second tree knew he was carrying the king of heaven and earth.
One Friday morning, the third tree was startled when her beams were yanked from the forgotten wood pile. She flinched as she was carried through an angry jeering crowd. She shuddered when soldiers nailed a man’s hand to her. She felt ugly and harsh and cruel. But on Sunday morning, when the sun rose and the earth trembled with joy beneath her, the third tree knew that God’s love had changed everything. It had made the third tree strong. And every time people thought of the third tree, they would think of God. That was better than being the tallest tree in the world.”
Graduation is a time when the graduate feels happy and scared at the same time. Parents tend to make plans for the graduate and sometimes going beyond where they forget that their child is going to begin a life of independence. This puts the graduate in a scary situation when a whole new responsibility seems to overwhelm a seemingly good future. While the people around the graduate seem to help much with selfless and selfish motivation, it is but right to give the graduate the freedom to explore his or her place in this world.
In a place or in a country like ours where people are more than the available jobs, a common graduate may find it difficult how to make the relatives proud including their friends whom they have promised heaven and earth because of this amazing achievement. The inspiration drawn from the story of the three trees can become true to the graduate’s life if the intention is to finding and asking “what am I going to do next?”
I was as excited and scared as the 2012 graduates are. A lot of expectations were set before me and that really made me scared. As young as 18 years old however, I came to know my purpose in life. Not that it was as clear as one could imagine, because the details were unknown, but I placed my professional and personal life to the One I know I live for. Having this clear purpose, I am like one of the three trees who is so sure that I am going to play a significant role in this life. The professional life that was once designed by relatives and friends and a little participation of this long time college graduate was replaced by the Great Planner and Designer of Life itself. Believe me, it was not always easy but having the heart of a servant made me realize that everything is His way of telling me to work harder and aim higher.
Success has a different definition when a graduate finds purpose. Redefining it is putting success into all the pieces of a puzzle that finding one piece is already a success in itself. Having the pieces put together completes everything thus the purpose has been carried out and accomplished.
Graduation is a completed one piece of Life’s puzzle. Only God knows how many pieces are there to complete your own but have faith by entrusting your whole life to your Creator. Someday you will be one of the few whose life has been lived and enjoyed well.