The Dying Tree

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“There’s a mission that treats alcoholics and drug addicts located at the heart of Skid Row, Los Angeles.  It’s a community center, so often beds fill fast and many seeking treatment are turned away and placed on a waiting list, requiring many to wait months before getting help.  A fair percentage of those turned away have an earnest desire to get clean.  Yet, they have no where to turn and so they wait, often in the blistering sun of the summer afternoon or in the unpredictable occurrences of the winter nights.  Vulnerable to the elements, they lay underneath the refuge of an indifferent tree, a piece of nature notoriously known as “The Dying Tree.”  Their desire for a better life far outweighs the predictability of the next fix.  The commitment and focus by which they express in their determination to wait and to abstain, parallels the greatest ingenuity- humanity attempting to change against the odds.  And the odds are heavily against them, as many of them wither and die beneath the scanty branches of The Dying Tree.  Days pass, weeks, and months, and they wait.  Many convulse, falling flat on their heads, scarcely leaving behind a few items for survival.  Others die of dehydration or health related conditions, and those remaining, unable to continue the fight, relapse-  overdosing after a period of abstinence due to the body being unaccustomed to the dosages.  A grim and bitter ending it seems but the souls that never make it through the doors of possibilities of a different life grant us the greatest lesson.  And that is, with every challenge we face, with everything we desire, we should place ourselves at the precipice-at the doors of possibilities and change with an unrelenting commitment, willing to sacrifice everything, willing to battle the elements- in the coldness or the unrelenting heat of daily living-for the opportunity of a better existence.”

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