When someone first told me that a willow tree was also a symbol for lupus, I laughed. Not because I find willow trees to be funny, to be honest I haven’t really considered them much, rather because I found the idea of a tree being a symbol to be, well, unusual.
Then I started looking into willow trees and discovered that these trees are incredibly remarkable. They have medicinal uses, especially around fevers, pain and inflammation (think of Aspirin). Hmm sounds an awful lot like the issues I encounter on a regular basis with lupus. Inflammation? Check. Pain? Double check. Fevers? Low grade almost all the time.
In addition, these trees were used for art and tools given their strength combined with flexibility. Hmm sounds familiar again. Lupus has taught me how I used to underestimate my strength and determination. Prior to lupus I was somewhat comfortable assigning the label “too hard” or “too challenging” and giving up based off those labels.
Since lupus has become my constant companion, I am up for the challenge because on top of being strong, I am flexible. Not super yoga bendy. Not human pretzel bendy either. But I’ve learned to flex and adapt to changes because that’s life with lupus.
Another interesting aspect of the willow tree is that for the most part, if a branch breaks off or a cutting is made, they almost always take and become trees. I like to see this as my life with lupus being no matter how much lupus throws at me or changes, I still find a way to see it through to my goals or dreams. Even if they are a bit altered or part of something I had wanted which was bigger.
So yes, a willow tree makes perfect sense. Now if only I were tall and graceful like one!