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wiltsToday's world is a bit chaotic! A few weeks ago our political world was filled with various discussions, opinions, needs, and desires and gatherings. Our physical world was moving out of wintertime and looking forward to springtime with less snow, tornadoes, and rain, and more wildflowers and wonderful sunsets. Suitcases and hiking backpacks were coming out of their closets getting ready for fun trips, looking forward to cruises, vacations, school proms and graduations, and spring break.

Then suddenly our world changed! Our plans were dampened and some were washed away. The virus arrived and, with it, major changes to our plans, our lives, and our immediate futures.

So what? We can overcome it! God has given each of us the ability to be tenacious, to be strong and accepting of our temporary "new" world.

One day our gay son Aric discovered a tree near our lakeside cabin in the California High Sierras. This 80-feet tall pine tree stood boldly upright on a 20-foot tall granite ledge. It only had two roots to feed it and hold it upright. One root grew toward the mountain into rich soil and rocks. The second root snaked its way back and forth, over and down the face of the ledge. It was over 30 feet long, almost 2 feet in diameter, and at its far end it dropped straight down about 5 feet into its rich soil.

Aric came back to the cabin and said, "Mom and Dad, I've got something neat to show you." And he drove us back over to "the tree." We walked up and studied "the tree." He and I climbed up the ledge and found the back good root, then we came back to the front and examined the bold exploring root. Wow, it had worked hard to find food for its tree!

Aric said, "Mom and Dad, this is my tenacious tree. It reflects my life and our family life!"

He was correct. As I've studied the word tenacious, I found that it fit our family's needs. And today it also fits our Kinship Family & Friends' needs.

Tenacious can mean "holding firmly" like that root held its tree firmly to the ground and granite ledge. As Kinship members and family and friends members, we can also purposely hold firmly to each other, to support each other, to even be roots of emotional and loving support to each other and keep ourselves and our families upright and firm.

Tenacious can also mean being stubborn and persistent. Again, I'm sure that tenacious root was stubborn and persistent when the strong winds tried to blow it's tree over, tried to end it's life; but the root wouldn't let go—it hung on! Sometimes when the winds of hate and misunderstanding try and blow us over, insult our members and bruise our families, we can also support each other and not let go either.

Another tenacious definition reflects on being strongly cohesive or adhesive. Through tenacity, we can stick together and support each other. Don't give up and let anyone or anything pry you away from your family and friends. Sadly, we still have many folks that honestly don't understand. They still believe what they've been incorrectly taught, and only our loving tenacity can start to change their feelings and beliefs.

Finally, tenacity is also being retentive: the ability to retain or remember. So as you think about your own lives, your own families, your own life experiences, search out the positive and fun memories, recall and share those tenacious memories. They are great tools and emotional triggers to make a moment or maybe a day brighter and survivable.

Thanks, Aric, for finding your tenacious tree. Your thoughts and feelings about it were right on. Today our family memorial plaque for Aric still sits below that tenacious root. If you ever visit the June Lake Loop, off of highway 395 in Mono County, let us know and we'll tell you how to find the tenacious tree.

Blessings to all, and happy tenacity!

John and Carolyn Wilt
Family and Friends Coordinators, SDA Kinship

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