Deep in the Sierra Mountains of the western United States stand the tallest trees in the world. Each giant redwood, also known as sequoia, can rise to heights over 300 feet tall, weigh nearly two million pounds, grow their trunks to over 50 feet in diameter, and have a lifespan of over 3000 years. These are simply some of the most amazing trees a person could ever see.
What is most amazing about these sequoia trees is their root system. A tree growing to these heights and living as long as they do, you might think their roots dig deep into the California soil. But that’s not the case. Each tree has a root system that reaches only 12-14 feet below the surface. One might wonder how these trees withstand the harsh weather that the mountains can throw at them. While their roots are shallow, they reach far and wide. The roots from each tree can spread to over one acre in size.
And that’s not even the most amazing fact of their survival.
What is unique about these gentle giants of the west is that their root systems intertwine with other trees in the grove to offer support and durability against the elements. In essence, they form a team to hold each other up. Without the aid and teamwork of the entire grove, no tree could stand on its own.
In our Christian faith we often speak of growing our roots deep in the truth of God’s Word. And while that is true, we can easily neglect the lesson we learn from the great sequoia. And that lesson is that it takes a team, a community, to stand against the storms this life brings. We need the support of others when this life brings unprecedented circumstances. And without that teamwork and support of a strong team, we all suffer.
Whether you realize it or not, you are part of a team. Your team may be family, neighbors, friends, a small group from church, coworkers, or people whose lives have intertwined with yours over the years. And this team needs your support. They need you to lean on, to hold them up when the wind is blowing, and you need them to do the same for you.
I am thankful to serve on a team that understands this simple, yet profound truth. The Y is a community where we find support for both the celebrations and the discouragements this life can throw at us. Whether it’s a staff team, a volunteer team, a group exercise class, or a Bible study group, these bonds that are developed are strength for our souls.
In these days of separation, we can first be thankful that our support system is strong. And we can all do our part to make sure that none of our “roots” are weakened by the circumstances in which we find ourselves. Send a card. Make a phone call. Check on your team. We will weather this storm, because we are all strengthened by the support of the larger team.
Stand tall! You are surrounded by giants.
“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ… For the body does not consist of one member but of many.”
I Corinthians 12:12, 14