How to Be a Giant on the Inside

Since Mattea has graduated from Humboldt State, I have not had the opportunity to drive north and see the majestic California redwoods, but they are still one of my favorite places in the Golden State. Even if you have never stood among the redwoods, imagine this, redwood trees are so tall that, standing on the forest floor, you can’t see to the tops. The enormity of these great trees emerges partly from the particulars of life in California– the ocean currents and our famous fog. The trees thrive because they have learned to adapt to strong winds, cold weather and fog. In other words, they have found a way to make challenges become a benefit to them. Redwoods evolved the ability to tap into fog, absorbing some of its moisture through their leaves and funneling more to their roots. The California giants found a way to make “rough weather” be an advantage and a source of growth. When we can learn from our challenges or missteps, we can grow as well.
In addition, it turns out that redwood trees evolved a second trait that, like their ability to absorb water from fog, allows them to thrive as huge trees: Redwoods are extraordinarily good at not dying. It seems that while some other towering tree species invest in growing very fast, redwoods invest in defense: pest-resistant heartwood, fire resistant bark, and an impressive ability to re-grow damaged trunks and branches. Scientists have found that it is incredibly difficult to kill a redwood because they are so resilient in bouncing back from “damage.” The slow growth of the redwood has shown that patience and persistence can pay off. They have demonstrated that even moderate or slow growth can add up over time. The redwoods have shown that they are good at survival. Even with current climate change issues, the redwoods are demonstrating once again that they can find a way to adapt to change and thrive. The trees have been supplementing a decrease in fog with the increase in pollution – they have substituted carbon dioxide for a loss in water. It appears that the same resilience that has allowed the redwoods and sequoias to grow so tall seems to be helping them cope with climate change. Again, these awe-inspiring giants demonstrate for us that our ability to adapt to change and grow from our setbacks can impact our future. Patience and perseverance, along with God’s gracious presence, can make us giant on the inside.

Be strong & blessed,

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