My wife, Kathleen, recently pointed out these two mushrooms growing in our front yard. We frequently walk our dog around the neighborhood, so we knew that we alone had been “blessed” with these two interesting growths. I might add that she wanted to know whether they would be safe to eat. I didn’t have any interest in that, but I did discourage her from trying to find out.
To tell you truth, I just enjoyed seeing them out there.
How in the world did these two mushrooms get here, though? Okay, so their seeds–or whatever mushrooms start out as–had obviously landed in our yard and somehow decided that the environment was hospitable enough to take up residence. At least until time to mow the lawn.
But that really doesn’t answer the question, does it?
Where did the seeds come from and how did they travel to our yard? Impossible to know for sure. Perhaps a bird ate some of the parent plants and, uh, dropped the seeds where they landed. Or maybe a dog or some other animal did the same thing–but not from the air.
During the mid-nineties I went on a mission trip to Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia. I stayed in a camp that faced a beautiful sight. Tabletop mountain. Looking at it from the camp, I had no reason to doubt why it had been named that; it looked as if the entire peak had simply been sliced off, leaving it perfectly flat on top.
But what I couldn’t see until I climbed Tabletop Mountain was the number of prickly pear cacti on top. If I hadn’t known I was on a mountain top in Australia, I would’ve thought I was somewhere in the American west.
The explanation my host provided was that birds had dropped those seeds from who-knows-where-else. Like another country, perhaps. Unbelievable.
Whether I wanted to believe that or not, I couldn’t deny the evidence right before my eyes. Like the mushrooms in my front yard, the cacti had somehow reached the mountain top, taken root, and thrived.
Looking back at my life–thinking about the various places I’ve lived in Florida, North Carolina, Virgina, and Maryland–I can’t say that I bear much resemblance to the cacti or the mushrooms; I didn’t grow up all in one place. Wherever I’ve lived, however, I’ve taken root–sometimes more successfully than others. And I’ve grown a bit more wherever I was planted. Physically, emotionally, spiritually.
God must have known it would take a number of different places–different influences–to grow me into the person I am now. I haven’t finished growing, though. Reaching sixty-seven has never been the end goal.
But the important thing has been to grow wherever I’ve been planted.
What about you? Have you lived all your life in one place or moved around a lot? How have the different influences on your life shaped who you are?
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“On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. On “As I Come Singing”—check it out here–you’ll find the lyrics of many of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. Check here to see the list. You’ll also find audio recordings of some of them at the Listen tab on my website.