Who Will Water The Trees?
My wife, Sara shared with me the following story she heard from H, a friend who returned from India where she visited a village she had first stayed in 30 years ago: “I went to India to see how things had changed in the village I visited in the 70s. Back then I went with a volunteer organization to help an undeveloped village. Our mission was to plant trees in a large area of dry land near the school. It was an uncultivated area with no water access and we doubted the trees would survive. The head of the project in the village was determined to bring about an ecological change in the area. He found a radical way to nurture the trees. In the village lived a handicapped woman who was disliked by all. She talked all the time. When people walked by her she would always speak to them and make annoying remarks. It was her way of grabbing the attention that no one wanted to give to her. She was known as the annoyance of the village. When people saw her walking toward them, they moved to the other side of the road hoping to avoid her and not suffer through her endless remarks. The man who headed the planting project decided to give this woman a job. He hired her to water the trees. He told her that as she watered the trees every day she must talk to them because it would help them grow. “The trees,” he explained, “love that you talk to them, more than anything else. Talking to the trees when you water them will help the trees to grow faster and larger.” And that was what she did.
Now, 30 years later when H visited the village she found the trees had indeed grown exceptionally well, more than the other trees in the area. The eco-system had changed and the feeling in the village was very different. It had become a green place with many shaded areas. H found the handicapped woman was still looking after the trees, watering and talking to them every day. The village went through a number of economical cycles with some up and down times. Many people lost their jobs and were often out of work. But the woman who watered the trees was never out of work. She had talked to the trees and watered them every day for 30 years.”
Here are the three morals I found in the story:
First, what seems useless one day may become useful or even critically needed the next day.
Second, when you do what you love to do as your work – you will never be out of a job.
And the third moral is that the very thing or person that is disliked by all may carry the kiss of life for many.
© Aviv Shahar