Last week Cam and I had the opportunity to serve the city we love. We had signed up for a few projects and one of them was with Tree Atlanta, a really great organization that works to keep our city green (glad someone cares about the environment). I’m not entirely sure why this was the assumption, but I’m almost certain Camilo and I assumed we’d be planting trees when we registered… because well that made sense. But then early the week before our project, we got an email that read “FINAL TREES ATLANTA DETAILS” followed by bullet points of what to wear, where to go, and what we’d be doing-which wasn’t planting trees.
It was watering them.
And honestly, that sounded stupid.
Cam called me a little later with the same response, and I complained to my roommate that I was about to spend 3 hours of my day literally watering trees. Like why. They grow. Atlanta has been raining for the past month. Why.
But we went, and it turned out to be awesome (see cute pic above). We were honestly surprised, and the longer we worked the more we learned about how important that work is.
Then there was this moment where I felt a little bratty for hating the idea of watering trees. And then another moment of realizing ‘wow, in life, I hardly ever water my trees.’
I RARELY WATER MY TREES.
If you’re close to me you know I’m in the middle of wrestling comparison demons that make me pretty much question everything I know about myself. I’m constantly looking around what other people have been given or have built and that causes me to despise what I have in my hands. Honestly though, there’s a point where you can’t be mad that others have a flourishing green forest around them when you haven’t watered your own trees.
How many ideas have a I had on paper but never stepped out on the line for. How many times have I walked away from a conversation with a friend excited about new habits, new prayers, or new insights and done literally nothing with those habits, prayers, or insights beyond that moment.
I love planting ideas y’all, but I hate watering trees.
Also last week:
Before our meeting with the trees, Cam and I had another experience with things that grow (I promise we are not normally like this, God just knew I needed some content). We started getting these little guys called Date Boxes, and man are they awesome. They are basically pre-packaged dates built for fun and some great chats with your boo.
This time the date box was planting herbs! How adorable is that?! We actually got to make the pots (lol at our pottery skills) paint them and plant our own herbs. It was oddly satisfying planting something small and hopeful with the person you plant you hopes with every day.
DateBox is amazing because they know exactly what you want, and they know, everyone loves to plant. But no one is making a date called, water your herbs twice a day for the next 90 days. Because leaders and gamechangers and initiative-takers are the ones who own the limelight, but maintenance was never the career path you wanted in your middle school pathways course.
But I’m here to say for anyone who hasn’t heard it yet:
Maintenance is the work of the brave.
Staying is sexy.
And watering your trees simply means you actually believe they could be great.
Our new friend Kimmar over at Trees Atlanta taught us that they water the trees in their first two years of being planted. They know that this period of time is what it takes to determine if the tree will be able to flourish in it’s environment, or if for whatever reason (soil, location, too much or not enough sun) it will die.
Two years. Twice a week, they water trees all over the city.
When is the last time I gave one of my dreams a shot like that? Two years, twice a week.
So here’s my letter to me, feel free to write it to you.
Your forest of dream-realities is never going to grow if you don’t water it.
Keep you chin up.
P.S. I went over to Cam’s to check on the babies. I’ll be honest, he’s a little heavy handed on the watering, but we have some sprouts, and I’m excited to learn how to savor the slow growing inches just as much as I did the planting.