When I had come across this quote, I found there was some debate as to its attribution. Some sources attribute it to Martin Luther, the 16th century Catholic priest who led the Protestant Reformation. Others say it is someone from the early 20th century. I realized that it doesn’t really matter who said it, as it is the quote itself that is important. I had also found a couple of articles that took the perspective of it being about the literal end of the world, asking if it makes sense to face that apocalyptic possibility with a positive and hopeful mindset, or not. That struck me as a not very resourceful or useful way of looking at these words. A much more productive way to consider this quote is to realize that it is a metaphor. It is about being in a dark place emotionally. Maybe things are going wrong, and for you, it feels like the end of the world. Struggles can often seem overwhelming and no amount of logic can change our feelings about it. However, what is being said here is to hold onto the possibility that our dreams can still live, can still grow and can even still flourish. Have you ever seen an apple tree full of fruit? One tree seems to bear hundreds of apples! When we feel so bad about something, and it feels like the end of the world, those feelings can be so strong that, like our speaker here, we “know” the world is going to pieces. But, listen! Plant your tree anyway. Whatever your dream is, keep giving something of yourself to it. Think beyond the fearful images you have. To plant a tree is to believe in a new world…. Where seeds will become trees and those trees will bear fruit. It is about holding an image of what you want rather than what you fear. There is a lot of power in doing that. Think about what makes any fruit tree bear fruit. The process is invisible and certainly beyond anything that humans can generate. Yet, the fruit appears for our pleasure and nourishment! Think of the dream in your heart as having the same power behind it as an apple tree has in producing year after year.
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