This is a Zimbabwean proverb from the Shona tribe, meaning that a person who harms another or borrows from someone will often forget, but the person who is harmed or borrowed from will always remember.
Chop down a tree with an axe. The axe does its job, it cuts and destroys a once-standing, strong symbol of growth and life. The axe moves on to the next job, but the tree is forever changed.
When a person is distant from an event he or she has the mindset that the past is the past. It is forgotten and they have moved on. But often the victim is left ‘standing there with their guts hanging out’, as a friend once described personal pain.
Are you an axe or are you the tree?
I think we are both. I have been an axe. I have used words to hurt. I have also remained silent and utilized my axe in that form. In any manifestation, an axe brings pain.
I have also been the tree; having my bark shredded and my branches lopped off.
Because we are human and live in a broken world, we are going to cause pain and receive pain.
It is my thought that we must find a way to let go of the whole tree when we are injured. Allow the stuff underneath to die, as well. The gnarly and destructive unseen parts are where danger lies. Roots of bitterness cannot remain. They will continue to search out a new form, a new life in which to pour its poison.
Some hurts come to us due to our own decision-making. And some hurts come to us from an axe-wielding insidious source. Of the latter, we have no control.
That is when we must choose ~ will we spend the rest of our days maimed and send our bitter roots into another life-force or will we choose to become firewood and bring warmth and beauty to others?