We recently celebrated a holiday in the US known as Labor Day. Even though it’s called that most of us get a government-issued paid day off from our normal form of labor. I took full advantage of this three-day weekend.
After pushing through in the month of August to get a proposal out I decided I needed a bit of a break from writing. So, I self-imposed a writing sabbatical for at least a week. I guess I broke it by writing my weekly blog posts and such. But, I gave myself grace for that, and for this post. You’ll see why in a bit.
I knew I needed some spiritual refreshment on my off-day so I went to a park the city of Plano named Arbor Hills Nature Preserve. My goal wasn’t to run my legs off. I saved that for later in the day. I simply wanted to commune with God in His creation. Something I’d neglected for far too long.
There were two categories of folks using the park: those who wanted to improve their physical shape, and those who wished to maintain theirs. They had their speeds while I had mine. My cruise was set at amble.
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I was surprised when my object lessons came at the tenth of a mile mark on the wide cement trail. It’s a section of hillside that was removed to keep the trail even for people’s enjoyment. The limestone developed in layers over the years in Texas. Yes, God did that on purpose.
Texans agree that when God placed people in the Garden of Eden at the intersection of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers He lived in Texas. It’s a simple fact in these parts.
The second thing I noticed in the limestone mini-cliff was a plant growing between the cracks of non-soil. Small yellow flowers drew my eyes to this delicate creation. The phrase “bloom where you’re planted” immediately entered my mind.
Being a weaver of words I twisted that familiar phrase into “you can’t always choose where you’re planted, but you can still decide to bloom.”
I resumed my amble and witnessed a cardinal land in a tree. His destiny was set before he ever hatched. He was cursed with that gorgeous set of red feathers and a loud chirp that would both draw predators to him. I wondered if he ever took advantage of that to draw them away from his family in the nest. He went about his merry way being the best cardinal he could muster.
I carried on greeting others using the park. I knew I had to stop to let the two corgi’s greet me. My own brief experience living with one taught me they loved a few seconds of attention from anybody sharing the planet with them. God graced them with that joyful spirit. They bloomed well.
At about the half-way mark along the trail I sat on a seat designed into a rock wall. A yellow and black swallow-tailed butterfly flitted by. I thought about how he began life as a caterpillar, no wings to lift him sky-ward. His destiny changed at some point so he could develop into what he is today.
The same thing held true for the dragonflies I saw, and the housefly on my water bottle. They began life in one form, yet shifted into something else when God called for it. Even the trees started out as seeds before they became plants.
That drew my thoughts to the first thing I’d noticed in the limestone mini-cliff. A tree root grew between the cracks of stone in search of water to feed the main plant above ground. This root was cut off to be exposed when the stone was removed for the trail. What remained was something a bit bigger than a man’s finger.
The unusual part of this root was the leaves it now sported. Yeah, branches were growing out of that root. When the root’s first purpose was cut off it decided to adapt and feed the main plant in another form. In time I’m sure those branches will form seeds and reproduce into normal trees.
When the circumstances of life change adapt and grow.
As I continued to amble back to the parking lot for another hour I saw a third type of person using the park. I’d guess this young lady was in her third trimester of pregnancy. She sacrificed her shape to bring about the next generation.
God took my thoughts back to a booklet I read almost thirty years ago. It’s title was: “Born to Reproduce.” The premise was that we’re designed to make more of our kind. Much like the creatures in the park. As Christians we’re called on to bring more people into God’s family.
My life was laid out before me as I drank the last of my water. I could choose to be the loner truck driver I found myself being for these many years. Or, I could choose to become someone different, a writer and speaker for Jesus.
It should be obvious which path I’m on. And I’m NOT turning back now.
I’ll see you later. Wade