My Relationship with the Baobab Tree

Photo Credit: Eranga Tennekoon
Photo Credit: Eranga Tennekoon

I had a curious event yesterday. I looked at my bank account activity and there was a charge I didn’t recognize, totaling hundreds of dollars. After talking to a bank representative, I was referred to another agency. In speaking with a man at the agency, they had been trying to contact me for a long time. I had never received their notices because I had long since moved from the address on file. This was regarding a bounced check from 1998.

Yes, that’s correct: 1-9-9-8.

I didn’t remember this particular transaction at all, however in recalling that period in my life I had indeed written checks that bounced, so it certainly was likely that the transaction was mine. And, it’s handled now. I didn’t get away with it. It’s not that I wanted to get away with it, because I know that it pained me to not have the money to take care of my business in the first place.

Without getting into all of the (now unimaginable) details, I recall being really, really overextended back then. There were so many times (for years even before 1998) that I was literally hanging on by a thread from day-to-day just trying my darndest to keep everything together. And as I see it now, my survival was absolutely nothing but God’s grace. God’s grace was the glue that helped me keep things together and provide the strength to live on the edge like that every day as I stretched to feed, clothe, house and educate me and my family.

I look back at the woman I was. I know her history, I know her heart and I know her intentions. Right now I see her strength and commitment to a dream. I also see her choices and the impact of those choices.

I decided to use my walk down memory lane as an opportunity to reach back in time and hold on to the person I was with loving and supportive arms. I can see her totally, in a split second, and can extend my love and understanding to her, which I now do freely.

The baobab tree in Africa is deemed to be the strongest in the world. They can grow to be nearly 100 feet tall and their trunk can be 30 feet in diameter. The ones that exist today are literally thousands of years old. Yes, thousands.

With tears of gratitude, I feel like a human equivalent of this tree. There are no words to express the depth of my pain and my commitment and my love and fierce determination to thrive in this life that has been riddled with upset and pain. I honor the challenging choices and compromises I have made, and honor the years when I walked as tall as I could while I was immersed in despair.

Today nothing makes me more proud than to be able to reach back in time in my mind’s eye, hold her in my arms and tell her that I love her, I understand her and that I support her. And with this internal healing, I feel that I unleash more of my inner power that will serve me today and tomorrow.

I believe that love transcends time and space. Like many of us, you may have a tendency to want to close the door and never look back on the times in your life when you were struggling and in pain. However, I believe that if you have the courage to face that pain — to look at what was in your heart and what your real intentions were despite your actions – you can reconnect with your compassion and self-understanding. And self-understanding allows your past self to transform and you experience more empowerment today.

If you seek more empowerment, you don’t have to look very far because it awaits you from within. Honor who you were – it is a big part of your success story.

You and I walk together, hand in hand, now and always, with the strength of the baobab tree.

3 thoughts on “My Relationship with the Baobab Tree

  1. Your story has touched me, Janet. I too have been in that position of always trying to stay above water after I chose to leave an abusive marriage. I raised my son alone and without that second income I made decisions that weren’t the best ones too. Many checks were written when there was no money to cover them but food had to be put on the table and school clothes had to be bought. Always playing catch up. Many times I would cry myself to sleep asking God to just help me until I got paid again the following week. As I look back the decision to leave was the best thing for me and my son. I had a chance eventually to pick up a second job and things started to get better. I too have one of those trees in my life. It sits in my backyard. I have named her Genevieve. Her branches hang and fold around like a big hug. Her bark is old and two summers ago a large branch broke and is being supported by her stronger branch. I am also old and have had my broken life supported by my stronger branch. GOD. She looks like she is dying but she is constantly growing new babies, all over. I show some wear and tear but I have grown in so many ways. And I am alive! I will be getting married to a wonderful man next month. This chapter of my life I plan on making my best,😊 God bless you, sister Janet. We made it! ((((Hugs))))

    1. Good Morning Edwina, I have made a quick correction. Janet D Thomas is the author of the article. I know she will see your comment and respond. So sorry for the confusion!

    2. Edwina, my dear sister, you are AMAZING! Thank you for your courage and belief in your own value all those years ago. Thank you for honoring yourself and your choices, and allow Genevieve to reflect your strength back to you. Congratulations on your upcoming marriage, and here’s to the best future ever. Yes, my love, we MADE it, woo hoo!!! xoxo

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