Persistence is to the character of man as carbon is to steel. Napoleon Hill
For much of the past year almost everyone I know have had some traumatic health issues, personally, or within their families. Disease, chronic illness, emotional problems, substance abuse, sleep disorders, obesity, cardiac arrhythmia, and accidents have changed what the sufferer and his or her family member value. For most cases, it is the relationship between each other and each with other close relations, that helps greatly in recovery.
Health, whether spiritual, mental or physical, is not a constant. It has to be nourished. Periods of rest and periods of exercise. Like the bodybuilder who follows a carefully regiment of diet and exercise, muscles strengthen with knowledge and application. Like a couple of struggling fruit trees in my yard, one is a stunted remnant of an apricot sapling which a year and a half ago was nearly killed by gophers eating at its roots. Finally showing some vigor now after seasons of nurturing, it still might not survive untended. And I am skeptical of a second tree thriving and able to produce fruit. While this dwarf peach tree has taken in a lot of nutrients and many months of care, it produces healthy leaves but little fruit. Oddly both are located next to each other, and adjacent to a vigorously fruitful lemon tree.
19 Seeing a fig tree by the road, he [ed.:Jesus] went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered. – Matthew 21: 19 (NIV)
Like the tree that has healthy leaves but bears little fruit, a lot of life’s difficulties can be hidden by a seemingly healthy face presented to others. It bears observation by those caring persons around to see that there is precious little fruit under the leaves. Uprooting and placing in healthier surroundings is the best remedy for salvaging a sapling. Or removing the cursed tree and replacing it with a more vigorous sapling is the most radical treatment for a tree. Instead, we choose to aid a loved one for as long as it requires. However, the sufferer has to decide to partner in her health. Those who have been attacked by circumstances, life choices, or by random events can respond with tenacity, and repentance. But it will require a lot of work. But the efforts will bear fruit.
This blogger has been unavoidably detained; I feel compelled to apologize for a long period of absenteeism. Like my friend Biff Sock Pow has noted, a few days or even a week seems like an eternity in the blogosphere. For a week or more, complicated issues within my family, and other competing influences of work, or with my church have taken precedence in the free moments while dealing with a family matter.