Apparently trees need a long, hard winter.  While it may look like the trees are having a hard time of it when they are covered in snow and ice, in reality they are getting their exercise.  When winters are tough, trees have to fight harder to protect themselves.  They do this by developing thicker bark which helps them to fight off other problems in the warmer months.  And so what looks devastating for trees is really beneficial for them.

If there is a common theme in the readings today, it has to be cursing.  Shimei curses David while the legion of demons screams at Our Lord.  They’re on the attack and one would expect a rigid defence to guard against such an obvious offence.  But David refuses to stop Shimei and Our Lord listens to the demons’ request to be sent into the herd of pigs.  Both David and Our Lord refuse to see these experiences as entirely negative.

Like trees which benefit from a hard winter, so we sometimes need a bad day.  It’s been said that we learn more from our enemies than from their friends.  Friends tend to overlook and excuse our faults and failings, while people who are angry with us often expose our shortcomings.  Experiences like these, unpleasant though they are, can encourage us into new areas of growth and renewal.

When life is too comfortable, we may not realise the legion of faults that need to be worked on and eradicated from our lives, leaving new paths and new possibilities unexplored.

And so today let us say a prayer for the people who give us a hard time.



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