Once upon a time there was a tentative seed. She very much wanted to break though to the world above, but first she wanted some assurances that there would be enough water and sun. Every day she’d ask herself, “If I keep pushing up through this resistant soil, will I blossom, or will a careless foot or paw trample and destroy me before I’m strong enough?”
The tentative seed really wanted to grow, but she worried that perhaps she’d been planted in a bad spot or all alone. If she left her shell to break ground, what would await—competitors or companions? What if she had to vie vehemently for her place in the sun? Could she capture enough time in the sky’s spotlight? Or would she languish in the dark?
The tentative seed had only one dream, to become the biggest, tallest, most awe-inspiring tree. She hoped to provide a home for animals, fruit for the hungry, and shade from the sun. She wanted deep roots so that she’d sway but not fall. She wanted to be flexible enough to bend, but strong enough to not break under the pressure.
One day the tentative seed decided to be brave. She surrendered the familiar security of being a seed and tried to change. She set her sights on realizing her dream of becoming a great and mighty tree. She soon found out it wouldn’t be easy. Some days were dark and cold. She was regularly tempted to give up. Becoming a tree was extremely hard work. But once she ceased to be a seed, she couldn’t revert. So she continued to change and grow the best she could. And although she persevered, she never grew extremely tall or broad. In fact, she looked rather ordinary. There were plenty of more impressive trees in the forest.
Although the tentative seed only grew into a modest tree, she never missed being what she used to be. Life as a seed was lonely, dark, and boring. Life as a tree was full of colors, exciting changes, and joy. Her roots drank the rain. Her leaves savored the sunlight. The wind tickled her branches. The snow was her soft blanket. She bore fruit. She provided shade. Birds built homes in her branches. Children climbed her and played around her and laughed. She changed with the seasons and grew a bit each year. And because she was so full of life, she had plenty of life to share.
Now the moral of this story is not that all seeds become trees that are big and tall. It’s that you might as well be brave and risk it, because a seed that refuses to grow never becomes a tree (or plant) of any sort. You can’t become what you’re meant to be if you stay exactly what you are. Growth requires change, and change requires courage.