Goodbye Old Friend

November 15th, 2011 by Rich Christiansen

Eighteen years ago my wife and I built a home. One of the first things we did upon completion of the home, in the middle of the winter, was acquire a peach tree. With much diligence and hard work, we were able to chisel a hole in the frozen ground and plant the peach tree.

This peach tree has been a joy and a blessing for our family. Within a year or two, this peach tree was bearing peaches the size of grapefruits. The peaches were luscious and delightful and succulent. Each year, one of the things I lookedforward to more than anything else, is when those peaches come on the tree.

For the last 16 years we enjoyed those peaches. Then about a year and a half ago the tree got a bore in it and the poor thing deteriorated until this last summer it became evident that I was going to have to cut the tree down.

This past weekend, my family and I had a big yard-work day. With a little bit of sadness I gathered the family around and we all grabbed hold of that old peach tree and we thanked it. We had a conversation.

We said, “Goodbye old friend. Thanks for serving us so well. You’ve had a good life and you’ve been so fruitful. And we’ve enjoyed you so much. But obviously you’re in misery now.” After we thanked the tree, we took out the chainsaw and cut the thing down.

We dug a new hole with expectation of planting a new peach tree. The location is perfect. Warm air from the dryer vent blows onto the tree and indeed that’s what made the blossoms take when many of our neighbors’ peaches were freezing.

The point of this blog post isn’t to tell you to have a conversation with your peach tree. But it is to encourage you to acknowledge those individuals in your business and in your life who have impact and who bear fruit.

We so frequently gloss over them. We don’t take the time to thank them and to acknowledge them. Sometimes they come and they go. Hopefully we don’t take chainsaws and cut them down, or worse take words and cut them down. Instead, as these people come and go from our lives, we need to take time to thank them and build relationships and networks, which are more enduring.

At the end of the day business and money is really just a fleeting thing; but the relationships and the tender exchanges that we have in our life are really powerful and beautiful, and actually the more meaningful part of living.

Next time someone does something of significance for you, or next time you see someone who made an impact in your life, make sure that you take time to put your hand on their shoulder, look them in the eyes, and thank them for their contribution. Of course, this will cause more fruit to be borne out of the relationship, but more importantly, it’s just the right thing to do.

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