I’m struck by how many examples of hardiness, persistence, and resilience I see in nature. I think God is trying to tell me something!
Yucca Plant in Bloom
The yucca plant is a good example. Yucca plants are supposed to be desert-dwellers. Yet this one lives thousands of miles away from any desert. For the past several years it has survived snow, bitter cold, rainy summers, dry summers, and anything else that’s come its way. The above picture, taken this year, shows it in full bloom.
Another example for me is an apple tree at the edge of our woods. The tree, leaning precariously, was sure to fall down, we thought. Instead, a large limb came down a few years ago. The wonder of it is that enough of the limb remains attached to the tree so that the limb still receives nutrients. Every spring flowers and leaves appear . The limb arches over the ground and provides shelter for birds and other wild creatures. Every day I walk to the apple tree to throw bird food on the ground I marvel at the limb’s resilience. Despite the damage done, it still lives!
A third example is a maple tree farther into the woods. Years ago a tree near the maple fell. As it fell it scraped the bark off one side of the maple. I thought the maple tree would die. It didn’t. The maple still comes out in the spring, looking a little odd because only half of it is green, but the tree survives.
To me, these living lessons speak out: if God put so much resilience in mere plants and trees to meet life’s trials and tribulations, how much more then did He put in me!
“What we hope ever to do with ease, we may learn first to do with diligence.” Samuel Johnson, Pope, (Lives of the Poets)
Somehow I think I should be able to do everything perfectly–the first time. If not the first time, then the second. If not the second time, well then, definitely the third. If I still don’t get it, there must be something wrong with me, right?
I have the above quote on my computer. Almost every day I read it and the message I get is this: I need to be patient with myself, give myself grace and space to get used to doing new things. I am not mechanically inclined; I get confused easily when working with even the simplest tools to do the simplest chores. Anyone unfortunate enough to be working with me needs a lot of patience.
Samuel Johnson’s words now serve as a guide and learning plan for me.
For those of us who don’t have garages for our vehicles, winter can bring challenges that people whose cars sit in garages don’t have to face. With that in mind, here’s a couple tips to make life a little easier on cold mornings :
- If possible, park your car so the engine faces the morning sun. Even in very cold weather the sun warms the engine, making it easier to start. This tip came from a co-worker of my mother.
- Many newer cars have a more aerodynamic design. For instance, the doors of my car are even with the body. There’s no overhang to protect the door seals from the elements. That presents a problem in winter when a storm hits: depending on the direction the snow or ice comes, the doors freeze shut even though unlocked. For awhile I sprayed cooking spray on the seals. That was a bad…
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This afternoon I felt restless. After I threw a couple loads of clothes in the washer I couldn’t get settled down to doing anything else constructive. I almost went grocery shopping, but I was just shopping yesterday. Thoughts of being in a store today weren’t appealing. In fact, the longer I was in the house the more restless I felt.
What did I do? I prayed about my restlessness, grabbed a coat and headed out into the bright sunshine. I fed the birds, then walked on a nearby nature trail. Spending time outside is relaxing to me because nature has no agenda. It just is. The trees don’t try to get me to buy anything; the boulders don’t bellow any propaganda; the gurgling and babbling of the creek as it rushes over and around the rocks doesn’t contain any hidden messages. Nature is, and that simplicity and the beauty of the woods brought a peace to me that hours later I am still enjoying.
If you’re inside, longing for the outdoors, and can’t make it there yet, here’s a mental “getaway” for you.