Thursday, August 19, 2010

how i define love.

People ask me all the time why I call my blog Once There Was a Tree. Sometimes I am surprised that friends have not read the book, but The Giving Tree is on the top of my favorite books... ever. Sure, there are other more adult books on that list, but nothing is as dear to my heart than this story. I cry every time I read it.

The book has gotten some criticism. People go on and on about how it encourages abusive relationships and how it's not really the best way to teach children about how to love others. I choose to ignore these comments, because I think they're ignorant. No offense, but people will find fault with anything. Please don't do that to this book, which encompasses my entire childhood and code of ethics which I have based my entire life upon!

When I was little, I spent all my time with a tree. Some people had imaginary friends {I had them, too... what can I say, I was an imaginitive child} - I had this tree. I used to sing and dance with her, tell her my deepest darkest secrets, laugh and sometimes cry underneath the comfort of her branches. The connection we shared was unlike anything I have ever experienced again. You can roll your eyes all you want, but until you have a conversation with a tree... you probably won't ever understand the magic I have felt. Spending time alone in nature is the best therapy out there, trust me.

Anyway, one day I looked outside of my window and I watched a big ugly tractor cut her down and take her away. She was gone. I cried and cried and my mother did everything in her power to comfort me, but it was no use. I tried everything to bring her back. I tried planting seeds inside of her stump, gave her lots of oatmeal {hey, I was four years old!!} and when all my efforts seemed to fail, I sat at her stump and spun my fingers along her rings -- praying to anything that would listen, begging to bring her back. It didn't work.

So I relate to this book. I really get it. During my childhood, I was that boy. So it was through those pages in that book that I learned about love. Love for myself, my family, and most of all - humanity. No critic can ever take those memories away from me, or make me feel any different about this story.

When I was in college, I donated blood for the very first time. I often joke about Va Blood Services being run by vampires, because as soon as we discovered that my blood was 0 negative, it's like they keep my number on speed dial. Seriously. But when I found this out, I just knew that I had a responsibility to the world. Maybe I'm being dramatic, but being able to donate blood and various other body parts to anyone made me feel special. I have always felt that if a person needed something from me and I was able to give it, I should. No questions asked.

And I know that this book is why I feel this way. The connection that I have with the words and pictures makes it all click. That tree gave the boy everything she had. And she was happy knowing that he was happy. That is love.

Many of you know that I donated my kidney in April. I think that my decision was so easy to make... almost to the point of being obvious... because I knew that I was 0 negative and I feel this enormous responsibility to give whatever I can - like the tree. A lot of my family members and friends didn't understand at first, but by the time I went into surgery, they got it.

Another thing that made it pretty clear - when we looked at my kidneys and the doctors decided which one would be best for the donation, they decided that it had to be my right kidney. A year or two ago I had the giving tree tattooed on my right side, as a perminent remind to give everything I can to humanity.

What more confirmation could I possibly need?

So this is my challenge to you: to give to humanity in any way that you can. Life has a way of coming full circle, and I know that one day I will need some one to save me and the stars will align and the universe will speak and some one will be there for me. Maybe even some one I don't know. We are all in this together, and we have to stand by eachother in order to survive. The world needs all the compassion it can get, and there is so much of it to give. Remember: we are all individuals, but we are also all human beings. We have the same wants, needs and desires. No matter your race, culture or background - everyone wants to be loved.


  1. Had to pull the kidney card, Miss Hometown Hero.luv u

  2. What a genuine blog! I love the depth and empathy in your worlview. Thank you so much for sharing.

  3. Wow, so inspiring. Thanks for sharing this story! It makes me think that maybe I could give a little more too...

  4. What a great blog. The giving tree was also a childhood favorite of mine as well and continues as a favorite with my 3 little ones. The donations you have done is very inspiring.

  5. this was so beautiful. and i couldn't agree more. that book is about being selfless and putting others first, not abusive relationships. (if people want to read about abusive and creepy relationships... read twilight, then i would completely agree ;))

    this whole post was so good... the fact that your scar goes right through the tree, to me, makes it even MORE beautiful!

  6. love love love.
    your tattoo is great too. and the scar.
    love love love.

  7. absolutely beautiful........the words, the story, the imagery, the tattoo, you....

  8. Wow...this is such an amazing story & I love the tattoo.

    Thank you for sharing, you are truly inspiring :-)

  9. VA Blood Service does call all the time. I am in the O- field too - and my mom. Sadly the last few times i went my iron wasn't high enough. : ( If you ever need my blood, i got your back!!!

  10. I know this blog is a few years old but I just want u to know that it made me cry, there's not many people in this world like yourself. You are one of the special ones. What u did is amazing!! I hope u don't mind that I pinned ur story to Pinterest, it deserves gratitude!!

  11. Hi -
    I just wanted to drop you a line to share this with you.
    I was looking through google images trying to find a symbol to represent my kidney donation and I stumbled upon this blog. Your entry warmed my heart and I found myself nodding in agreement throughout the entire entry. I looked up to see when you had posted this and guess what day it was on? The exact same day I donated my kidney. HA! I am absolutely in awe of the universe today and wanted to thank you for choosing to post this entry on this particular day.


speak your mind! always!

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