“I don’t like trees because they’re not perfect,” I blurted from the backseat of the car. I remember my parents shocked reaction and call for clarification. Something about the lack of symmetry was a sad statement for a boy of eight, and quite telling of my innate perfectionism.

Now as an adult having endured and survived many of life’s greatest personal challenges, I’ve grown to appreciate the beauty found in trees because their imperfections. Like us, trees go through seasons. At times, the trees are in full bloom, and the smell of crisp spring air engulfs us. By fall, our world is colored by the leaves, and we recognize change is upon us. In the bitterness of winter, trees are stripped of their leaves and stand barren; yet the core of the tree remains despite its full disclosure. Having seen the cycle, we know trees endure even the harshest of times and bloom once again when the season turns.

Life is cyclical for both trees and human beings. There have been seasons I’ve stood exposed, raw and vulnerable having lost everything at one point. But with roots firmly planted by my parents and in my relationship with the my creator in addition to the mental fertilization of my friends and support system, I’ve been able with withstand life’s harshest winters as well as bask in its sweetest springs. Despite my hesitancy to be pruned, I’ve stood taller than before. Somehow, like the tress that color my world, I’ve bloomed where I’ve been planted.

As my rings have expanded, I’ve discovered my love of trees because they’re not perfect, like me.


  1. It’s hard to believe you’ve had your tree tattoo for almost six years now. This is one of my favorite pieces you’ve shared because it captures the beauty of your spirit and demonstrates your willingness to embrace imperfection. The metaphor of the tree represents your life well, and I’m grateful to be a part of each new ring added annually. Your writing is refined, precise, and elegant.

  2. Your vulnerable helps me feel safe sharing my imperfections. Today I came across Thomas Keating and Richard Rohr’s welcoming prayer. The first line reads, “I welcome everything that comes to me today because it’s for my healing. “

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