As I look out my window into the woods I notice a tree that has annoyed me for years. It was pushed over by a storm so much that instead of standing at a 90 degree angle to the ground, it is more like at a 45 degree angle. I was going to cut it down, but my kids begged the woodsman to spare the tree, since it would be great fun to run up and down the trunk. So I did. I don't know how much running up and down happened, but in the meantime it has tried to adjust to its new posture by sending branches straight up from the leaning trunk. The only real way to secure its future, though, is to send branches straight down that will root and support the lopsided hulk, banyan-tree-style. Its genetic code doesn't allow rooting branches, so it is indeed doomed to someday fall.
The tree is a good reminder to all of us to reassess our posture from time to time, to make sure that we are erect, not just physically, but mentally, spiritually, and even politically. The trick is the balance. Sometimes something pulls on us, and we lean the other way to resist being pulled over. When the pull ends, though, we must stop resisting what is no longer there and right ourselves again. Otherwise, we are in just as much danger of falling over as we were when the strain began. Like the tree out my window, when the wind stops pushing us where we don't want to bend, we straighten up as best we can and reach for the sky.