Friday Fable: Lubans’ The Fallen Tree

Posted by jlubans on August 02, 2013

The night storm had wreaked havoc. Deep in the forest, the pelting rain and driving wind had toppled one of the mightiest trees, a monarch of the forest. It’d been sent crashing down onto the forest floor, mortally wounded.
The trees and forest animals gathered to mourn; they surrounded the tree. They looked anxiously about, worried if other storms would come and destroy their land. They worried about their own future. How would they get along without their old friend, its high branches, its corrugated bark, its shade on hot days and its shelter during the cold and wet times?
The fallen tree, with a sigh like that of a gentle wind through leaves, asked: “What do you see?”
The gathered trees and animals look around. “We see the destruction from the storm, the land is torn. We see your bruised body and shattered limbs.”
The fallen tree whispered again, “What do you see?”
The mourners wondered to themselves, “What’s more to see?”
Then, “Wait, wait”, cried one of the smallest trees. “Look up! I can see the sun, I can see the sky. The forest is now open to the sky.”
“Yes, yes”, sighed the fallen tree. “I soon will be gone, but the sun, our mother, will shine down to the forest floor and the young will thrive.”

And so it is, when organizations wax anxious about the departure of a workplace luminary, someone upon whom the sun had shined more than most. We are often encouraged, seemingly obligated, to make dissuading counter-offers.
I always shook that person’s hand and wished him good luck in his decision to leave. Sure, that person was irreplaceable, but I wasn’t going to replace that person. I was going to find someone new, someone who would bring fresh ideas and new perspectives, someone who would come out of the canopy’s shade and grow and aspire to be as grand in her own way as that irreplaceable star.

Leading from the Middle Library of the Week: Nashville Public Library

Copyright John Lubans 2013

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