A Catholic Monthly Magazine

Mangrove Reflections (2)

Cody Pā Piripi sm

Pā Piripi Cody sm

There was more seaweed caught in the Mangrove, more flies nesting in some of the leaves, a few dead branches and twigs, but overall, green and healthy. A lesson to see the positive and not concentrate on the unattractive. So be grateful, Phil, for your health and realise that there are so many far worse off, facing living with cancer and other problems.

One thing I noticed was that various parts of the Mangrove had healed. What had been a life-threatening cut in the trunk had now healed over. It felt good to have had some part in that process, trimming it back and putting sealing oil over the scars last time. I suspect the Mangrove was grateful too.

The strong root system

The strong root system

I pray each of us learn from the Mangrove: it is possible to heal the scars of life.

It made me wonder at the healing process in our lives. I had come across a man who repeatedly damages the relationships in his life. It is possibly a reaction to the lack of relationship he had to his father, and the way his father treated his mother, back in childhood. Sadly there has been no healing process of his scar. So whenever he gets cornered, he reacts like a young lad once again, often by hitting out, just as his Dad did. I pray each of us learn from the Mangrove: it is possible to heal the scars of life. In fact not only possible, but also vital, for a healthy life and set of relationships.

I found it amazing how gently the Mangrove was present. No great fuss. Infinite patience at the flies nesting in some of its leaves; acceptance of the push and pull of the tides. This repeated day after day, tide after tide! Various things enable this to happen. One is the rock-solid footing system that is now like concrete around Mangrove’s trunks.

Seaweed in the branches

Seaweed in the branches

There is hardly any movement in the well-grounded trunks. They are still relatively slender, though I cannot get my hand around the larger one. Slender, but firm. That lesson once again: ‘build your house on rock’ (Matthew 7:24f.), the rock of God. How grounded was my life at the moment? Was I developing and sustaining persons and situations that kept me well grounded and balanced.

Another lesson being reinforced seemed to be a deep, deep acceptance of whatever is present without angst for past or future. As my spiritual director couple remind me, ‘the promised land is now.’ Not what I hope will happen; not what I worry might happen. No, the present moment is the place of love and focus. Such an obvious lesson, but I need to keep re-learning it! So the Mangrove is not counting how many tides there are; nor thinking this will be a good or bad day. She simply lives and lets others live, be they flies or crabs or birds or whatever. Dear Mangrove, teach me how to focus on the present with love and openness.

Healed and healthy mangrove

Healed and healthy mangrove

We all go through tough patches. Some even have chronic pain and disability that is well beyond a patch. I noticed the Mangrove, now a good metre taller than me, has tangled seaweed and other flotsam in its top branches!

That must have been some storm to cover her with sea. Well, maybe not all that surprising given the various cyclones that have beset the Queensland coast, lifting roofs and eating back the sand seawall. Somehow Mangrove has survived and lives positively and healthily, bearing much fruit. A lesson? A storm is not the end of it. I made a prayer for refugees and those beset by the vicious storms and wars of humankind.

Please God, we can continue to reach out to help.

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