Sunday, May 15, 2011

Why You Belong Right Here

I'm walking with my neighbor in the woods.

Lady Slippers in the Woods

All of a sudden, she cries out, "The lady slippers have bloomed!"  She's pointing to the earth, and at first, I do not see anything.

Then, I see them.

Pink Lady Slipper Blooming

I don't even really know what I'm seeing or why it matters.   

Lady Slipper Reaches Out

My friend tells me something wondrous.  Lady slipper orchids are extraordinary.

Are You Looking at Me? 

It's illegal to uproot them.  It's actually against the law to harm these wild orchids.  I learn two amazing facts that explain why.

First, the US Forest Service reports that lady slippers depend upon a very special fungus in the forest that allows the seed to grow.  The fungus cares for the seed--passing on nutrients--until it grows older.  And when the plant matures, it then sends nutrients back to the fungus through its roots.  That symbiosis will be destroyed if we harvest the orchids.

Second, I learn that the intricate system of orchid roots means that if you take even one plant away, you harm the entire network of orchid plants. 

Lady Slipper Family

Every single one matters.  And the location isn't an accident.

As I think about the impossibly complex design that allows these orchids to thrive, I consider my own community.  Every single person nourishes each other, and we're here for a reason.  There's nothing accidental about it. The conditions for our growth exist only here.

Doesn't God tell us that He "searches out the exact places where we live" (Acts 17) and that we are "all part of one body"? (Romans 12)

You are here for a marvelous reason.  We need you!  And even when these growing conditions seem like, well, fungus, this is what we require to thrive.  

Living with flair means really seeing ourselves as a community and knowing why it matters.  We are part of each other. 

Finally, it took another person to reveal this beauty to me.  I would have never noticed these lady slipper orchids without her.  Living with flair means that when our neighbors don't see it, we show them. 

Journal:  Do we really believe we are part of one another?


jenny_o said...

Beautiful writing the last while, as usual. You have flair, all right - in seeing each small miracle and putting it under the magnifying glass for yourself, and for us, to wonder about and enjoy.

Johan said...

Surely we are all connected, I read today from "7 habits of highly effective people" the secret to the 99 is the 1 - how you treat one reflects how you'd treat the others, because we're all a- one.

I've never heard of those unique orchids before, thats a wonderful observation and revelation.

ps: I just opened a box left outside my front door - and what do you know, your book just arrived in the mail a month earlier than the website's predictions ~ I'll be "reading with flair" before I start writing =D thanks! I'm so excited!

jeedoo said...

Exquisite picture of real community. Thanks, Heather.

Eiggam said...

I never knew these orchids existed! I'm going to look for them the next time I take a walk in the woods.

Debbie said...

Wonderful post. Took a walk in the woods w/ my neighbor and our two 3 year olds last week (when the weather was gorgeous here in western PA). Saw some of these lady slippers. Fun, huh?
BTW, I "unsubscribed" to your blog on Google because I can never view the pictures. I will continue to read your blog here though!

Patricia said...

Lovely photos and beautiful insights, Heather.