One year when springtime rolled around when I was in elementary school in the 1970s, each kid received a pine tree sapling to take home and plant, tend, and watch grow. This was part of a school-wide initiative to get children more interested in and aware of the natural world and the need for conservation. I didn’t know about any of my classmates, but I thought the idea was so cool, that I was being entrusted with the care of an actual tree. I couldn’t wait to get my fledgling tree and plant it. My excitement was strong, but, alas, the sapling was not. It perished after a few short weeks when my older brother carelessly ran it over with our lawnmower.

My school gave out saplings the next spring too. Not only was I a year older, I was also a little bit wiser. This time I entrusted my sapling to relative I knew would care for it (or at least not destroy it). I planted it at my uncle’s house across town from where we lived. Over the years I watched my tree grow. Before long, it was as tall as I was. Then it was taller. The last time I saw it, it must have exceeded 15 feet. Eventually, I grew up and left home and could no longer track my tree’s growth, relying instead on occasional reports from my relatives. My uncle passed away a couple of decades later, and his house is no longer in our family. But I’d like to think my tree is still there where I had planted it, going strong.

I usually remember my tree around this time of year when the world turns green and Earth Day is on the horizon. I remember how hopeful and awestruck I felt those two times I received a sapling at school. Those memories help me feel less pessimistic now when I read the increasingly dire news about the climate change and the state of the earth.

Cultivating a Positive Attitude

Optimism and engagement are antidotes to discouragement, no matter the circumstance. When the news and data paint a dismal picture of how things are, it is up to us to create another kind of image—through the power of faith and imagination—of how they could be. This is our superpower as divine beings, to create our lives through the power of our thoughts and feelings.

Hopefulness and reverence fuel our desire to help, to believe real progress can be made. This Earth Day, I invite you to rekindle your reverence and appreciation for our precious planet earth. In prayer, bless the earth with thoughts of gratitude and pray for inspiration on how best to use your talents to help. And, of course, keep doing what you’re doing to help—recycle, conserve, volunteer, and donate to causes that are dedicated to improving the environment—and consider doing even more as your time and resources allow. Just do those things from a place of hope and empowerment, not hopelessness and fear.

And take heart. Together, we are capable of tremendous, lasting change—one thought, one feeling, and one tree at a time.

About the Author

Rev. Teresa Burton is editor of Daily Word® magazine. An inspiring writer and dynamic speaker, Burton brings clarity and fresh insights to spiritual Truth. Before answering the call to ministry, she worked for more than 25 years as an editor in various capacities in print and digital publishing.


No Results