I hadn’t thought about the story of The Trouble Tree for along time. But I was reminded of tonight as I came home from a long day of work. I was worn out and feeling overwhelmed by how much I still needed to get done and when I pulled in the garage and walked through the garage door my 1 year old grandson Flynn come running toward me with a huge smile on his face to hug me. Suddenly I couldn’t have cared less about how much I needed to get done. All I cared about was getting to spend a little time with Flynn on this unexpected visit he and his parents were making to see me.
After the visit that story of The Trouble Tree popped into my head and I was reminded that its a technique I need to remember to use before coming home after a long, stressful day. The story goes like this:
“The Trouble Tree” (author unknown)
The carpenter who was hired to help a man restore an old farmhouse had just finished his first day on the job and everything that could possibly go wrong went wrong. First of all, on his way to work he had a flat tire that cost him an hour’s worth of pay, then his electric saw broke, and after work his old pickup truck refused to start.
His new boss volunteered to give him a lift home and the whole way to his house the carpenter sat in stone silence as he stared out his window. Yet on arriving, he invited his boss in for a few minutes to meet his family. As they walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands. When he opened the door, he underwent an amazing transformation. His tanned face was one big smile as he hugged his two small children and kissed his wife.
Afterwards, the man walked his boss to his car to say thank you. Now on their way out of the house, the boss’ curiosity got the best of him so he had to ask the man about the tree on the front porch. He said, I noticed when you came up on the porch before going into your house you stopped and touched the tree, why?
“Oh, that’s my trouble tree,” he replied. “I know I can’t stop from having troubles out on the job, but one thing’s for sure – my troubles don’t belong in the house with my wife and children. So I just hang them up on the tree every night when I come home. Then in the morning I pick them up again.”
“Funny thing is,” he smiled, “when I come out in the morning to pick ‘em up, they aren’t nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before.”
–I’m glad that story popped into my head tonight because it reminded me that we all need to have a trouble tree picked out, where at the end of the workday, we can drop our stresses off before we come home.
Our families have been waiting to see us and even though our spouses or older children might not come running to the door to greet us with a big hug like Flynn did tonight (…although, wouldn’t it be AWESOME if they did?! Best way to come home, ever!…) they still need us to be excited to be back home and they need our love and attention.
Find yourself a trouble tree and drop those stresses off! Then enjoy being home cause there is no place like it, baby!
~Amy Rees Anderson