When Trees Grow Together

By Kalengule Kaoma

treeAn African Jacaranda tree graces our front yard. It is quite leafy right now, and a couple of months ago, lavender flowers populated its closely growing branches. Our Jacaranda reminds me of a proverb of the Bemba people of Northern Zambia, which goes like this: "Imisambo ya miti iikulila pamo taibula ukushenkana." A rough English translation would be, "Branches growing closely together will inevitably rub against each other."

Bemba elders and community leaders use this proverb to encourage people to forgive and consider each other’s weaknesses as part of the package of living together. Without forgiveness, people do not live in harmony. Animosity, self-centeredness, bitterness, pride, envy, and jealousies rule our lives when grudges and unforgiveness take control of our relationships.

Peace, pleasantness and happy relationships grow out of forgiveness. A wise man said a long time ago, "How good and pleasant it is when brothers [and sisters] live together in unity." These words are applicable today as well.

Husbands and wives ought to forgive each other. Parents and children need forgiveness. Superiors and subordinates work better when forgiveness dominates their differences and offenses. Neighbors who bury their quarrels under the rock bed of forgiveness solidify their neighborliness.

When we forgive each other and accommodate the "weak," we will bloom and contribute to the well-being of our families and communities. Branches growing closely together do inevitably rub against each other, but what a different world it would be if we all practiced forgiveness.

copyright 2008
Photo: Kalengule Kaoma

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