There’s a tree that was planted in my front yard when I was a kid. I remember, once, there was a hurricane and the teeny tree was tossed and thrown back and forth. We weren’t sure it would make it, but it did. The next morning, when the sun broke through the clouds, it was there, missing a few leaves and branches, but none the worse for the wear. We righted its lopsided slant with some string and pieces of wood and payed it no further mind.

Maybe I didn’t realize it was slowly creeping up, steadily growing higher and higher, because as long as I can remember, it was just that—“the teeny tree in the front yard”. But when I returned home from a refreshing, growth-filled year in Eretz Yisroel, I took a good look at the tree and saw it was now fully-grown; big, healthy and blooming! Like me. But it didn’t hit me that we resembled each other until the going got tough, and I looked outside my front window and saw the former “teeny tree in the front yard” now reaching past my window! Then I realized it was going to be okay, that I could be resilient, just like the teeny tree had been, and continued to be.

We all have times that we freeze from the wind rushing at us and the rain beating down on us. We shake our fists at the unwelcoming weather and forget Who controls it!  But when the storm in our head passes, and we let the sun of positivity and the real reality of Hashem break through all those cloudy thoughts, we see we’re still here, standing (albeit a bit lopsided), but none too worse for the wear.

So when things seem hard, just straighten yourself up with a bit of string and wood, and if you feel like you are floating and a bit disconnected from your rich roots, stake yourself into the ground, and daven. And this time, when you turn around, I’m telling you, you’ll see this beautiful, growing person, blossoming and blooming—you’ll even surprise yourself!

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Aliza Azar is a 19 year old girl, just trying to make her way, through love of life and creativity. Her hobbies range from the theatrical arts, to writing, decorating, and really anything artistic. When she’s not just having fun, she’s working on educating the next generation—but actually, mainly herself. Aliza is a middle child of nine, currently presiding in Lakewood, NJ. To see some of her creative work, you can check her out on Instagram.