“The weather began to change, and a man felt inclined to plant something outside in the cold earth. After a hard winter of dark skies and icy storms, the prospect of digging in the ground warmed his heart. So he did some homework, researched the best tree for his chosen spot, and went to see an expert.
“The master gardener had this counsel: ‘Don’t plant a hundred-dollar tree in a ten-dollar hole! The roots of the tree,’ he explained, ‘must have room to expand and to absorb the nutrients from the soil. Also, the tree must be planted deep enough so that the roots can move into the soil and give the plant stability. If it’s planted right, you can expect it will grow into a beautiful tree and last a long time.’ (See Carlos E. Asay, Family Pecan Trees: Planting a Legacy of Faith at Home , 228.)
“Good advice—not just for planting trees but also for building relationships. Both trees and relationships grow best in an environment that has been carefully prepared and is constantly nurtured. Occasionally a seed may fall on uncultivated soil and spring up as a sapling, but such trees rarely last long enough to bear fruit. Likewise, lasting relationships don’t just happen. They must be fostered by love and attention, cultivated by care and concern, and fed by kindness and generosity. It doesn’t happen in one day of intensive attention; it happens over time, in countless small moments, as gradually as a tree grows.