Bend or Break?

Bend or Break?

Whatever is flexible and flowing will tend to grow; whatever is rigid and blocked will wither and die. – Tao Te Chang, Lao Tsu’s teachings

In my teens, I was quite into country music.  I’d listen and sing along for hours after school.. practicing for the day when I’d get to be Wynona Judd’s backup singer.  I even auditioned to be a DJ on our local AM station, KCYL 1450 AM.  Sadly enough, I’ve only once been in the same place as Wynona – and that was a at a prison rodeo when they were still The Judds, and KCYL didn’t think I had what it took to read the weather and local news in between songs.

I’m not bitter.  I’ve moved on.  (Call me Wy!)

Anyways, back then one of the songs that got a lot of play time was Strong Enough To Bend by Tanya Tucker.  Years later, I can still remember the lyrics (although I did look them up just to make sure I had them correct… which I did…)

There’s a tree out in the backyard
That never has been broken by the wind
And the reason it’s still standing
It was strong enough to bend

For years, we have stayed together
As lovers and as friends
What we have will last forever
If we’re strong enough to bend

When you say something that you can’t take back
Big wind blows and you hear a little crack
When you say “Hey well I might be wrong”
You can sway with the wind till the storm is gone

Like a tree out in the backyard
That never has been broken by the wind
Our love will last forever
If we’re strong enough to bend

When you start thinkin’ that you know it all
Big wind blows and a branch will fall
When you say “Hey this job takes two”
We can sway with the wind till the sky turns blue
Sway with the wind till the skies turn blue

(Yes, I sang along while I typed out those lyrics…. CALL ME WY!… but if you’d like to hear the song, you can listen to it here.)

For better or worse, this song has stuck in my head.  And while I don’t always heed it’s sound advice (been a few cracks lately even), I do find the lyrics coming back to me not just in my marriage but in many situations where I find that change is required.  (No, I don’t ALWAYS get my way, though it’s not from lack of trying.)  It is not always easy to bend especially since today’s critics often conclude that bending is a sign of weakness – as if bending equates to caving in.

Change is the natural order of the world. When something tries to stand against the force of change, it’s eventually destroyed. Cliffs are eroded, trees are uprooted, granite cracks. People can crack too. For us to grow and live–to flourish–it takes adaptation and learning. Stubborn attachment to a single set of “knowledge” or way of doing things (even something as silly as how to fold the towels – not that we’ve ever argued over that…nope, not once…) leads to stagnation of the mind and spirit. Remember to keep an open mind to new people and new ideas. Challenge yourself to always be learning something new. Focus on the possibilities of a fresh start, instead of hanging on to old frustrations.

And in case the tree symbolism didn’t do it for you:  Sails are made with cloth for a reason. When they’re stiff, winds beat against them until they tear. But if the sails are relaxed and workable, the wind can take you to places you’ve never been before.


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One Response to “Bend or Break?”
  1. MarcBenz says:

    She’s right. Not once have we had that argument.


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