Parable of the Acorn – Adapted From Cynthia Bourgeault’s “The Wisdom Way of Knowing”

Once there was a kingdom of acorns, nestled at the foot of a towering old oak tree. The citizens of this kingdom were advanced, upwardly mobile acorns, who utilized purposeful energy to maximize their lives. They viewed TED Talks like “Getting All You Can out of Your Shell,” while at spas for oiling and polishing their shells to enhance vitality and wellness. Some joined wounded-ness and self-actualization groups for acorns who had been bruised in their original fall from the tree.

One day a passing bird dropped an unfamiliar knotty little acorn at the foot of old oak tree. This stranger was capless and dirty, making an immediate negative impression on the other acorns. Still, crouched beneath the oak tree, he stammered out a wild tale. Pointing upward at the tree, he said, “WE … ARE … THAT!”

Most acorns wrote his ramblings off as delusional. Yet one acorn engaged him further: “Tell us, how WE become THAT tree?” “Well,” he stammered, motioning downward, “it has something to do with going into the ground … and cracking open our shells.” “Outrageous!,” the crowd responded. “Why, then we wouldn’t be acorns anymore.”

Acorns must fall to the earth, break open, be buried in the cold dirt, flooded with water and then scorched with sun BEFORE new life rises. Often times acorns will be picked up by animals and taken far away from their tree too. If Acorns could talk, then I’m sure the process of transformation from an acorn to a tree would sound painful, lonely, scary, and unrelenting.

We will experience seasons where we feel fallen, broken, abandoned, buried, flooded, or scorched by life’s trials, temptations, and setbacks. There will be times when we are overwhelmed with challenges. There will be times when much of what we’ve trusted in and become familiar with will fall away from our lives. It is good and right to lament the losses as they come. But we do not forget that these losses, leading up to the final loss of our very lives, are all a prelude to our ultimate transformation. One day we will RISE.