On my hike today I noticed several trees that had vines wrapped around them. At first, I thought it looked cool so I was going to take a picture. As I stepped closer to get a better angle, I realized that the vines were choking the trees. Strangling them.

As I walked further along the trail I realized that nearly every tree was entangled in vines.

A few of the larger trees were able to break free, and I applauded them (silently, in my mind).

The vines reminded me of things in my life that have tried to take me down. Choices I’ve made, past mistakes, things that have happened to me, and past hurts.

The vines took me down when I wallowed in self pity that led me into a deep pit.

I remember being at the bottom of that pit looking up, crying, yelling, screaming for help, and giving up.

I also remember being lifted out of the pit, seemingly lifeless, presented with the gift of a new life again.

Walking this trail today, seeing the massive trees that broke free from the vines that tried to take them down, I realized they were me.

As I accepted the gift of new life, I received new strength. The new strength is endlessly provided when I remain rooted in the gift giver, just as the trees remain rooted when they break free from the vines.

If I allow choices I’ve made, past mistakes, things that have happened to me, and past hurts to define me, I will end up entangled again. I will end up back in that pit.

I choose to accept them, all of them, and break free.

I choose to remain rooted in a new strength that is provided daily.

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