It was the middle of winter. My network of friends had disbanded and moved on with their lives as so often happens. Feeling left behind, I became more and more isolated, spending more and more time alone. I became increasingly frustrated. I had always been taught hard work brings results and if you played by the rules everything would fall into place. Work now, play later. But all I knew was work. I wanted to play, to enjoy life. I couldn't understand why things had to be so hard. As days became weeks and weeks melded into months, I began to see myself in the barren little tree that stood just outside my window. Like me, it just stood there, day after day, lifeless against a grayed sky.
One dreary afternoon, I was feeling particularly sorry for myself. I came home once again to a cold and empty apartment (I couldn't afford the heat). I hadn't been sleeping well, terrified of the peeping tom that had been lurking around my windows and now my car needed repairs. How was I going to pay for my classes? I collapsed in a massive heap on the floor raging against the unseen. I was the responsible one. I always did what was expected, played by the rules. Why was I trapped?? I simply didn't understand. What did I do wrong??
In the midst of my sobs, the sound of birds drew my attention to the window. I looked up. The little barren tree was full of robins. There must have been a least a dozen of them. I had never seen even one robin before let alone so many. But there they were, red breasts full and vibrant and singing. For me, the message was clear. I pulled myself up off the floor, stood up and dried my tears. I needed to keep moving. Everything would be alright. Spring was coming.