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June 14, 2016

Nature Always Finds a Way

There is a weedy, overgrown ditch littered with fast food wrappers and the occasional beer can. A narrow, muddy trail winds through it. It's managed to avoid being overgrown thanks to deer and runners like me who don't want to be on the busy highway. Either is hardly safe. The ditch has its own dangers. If the mosquitoes, chiggers, or skittering snakes don't trip you up, the broken glass and unexpected stones jutting out of the tangled weeds will. 
 
I've learned it's easier to slow to a walk and pick my way through the tall, sharp grass than try to run through it. Today I was glad I took the time to observe the trail a little more closely than usual. To my surprise, I spotted several small strawberry plants covering the path. A line from an old movie came to my mind: Nature always finds a way. 

Bright red berries stood out against the faded green grass and sandy dirt of the footpath. They looked cheerful and promising. I felt amazed they'd managed to grow in such a dilapidated roadside ditch. It was a little less sad. Almost cheerful. In the most hopeless of all circumstances, nature had indeed found a way. In that instant, I suddenly understood the importance of having hope--hope for a lost soul, a struggling friend, a hopeless head case. Or maybe just hope for a son.

There is a boy, in his twenties, as lost today as he was in his tweens when puberty struck him down. He had the same upbringing as the rest of our kids: the same soil, the same nourishment, and the exact same sunshine; yet he has become an overgrown gulley, hopeless and going nowhere. He is littered with the world's refuse, tangled and confused by briars and brambles, muddy and overrun with rodents and snakes. How will he ever, I often wonder, get cleaned up? When he will grow? When will he bloom?

Nature always finds a way.

Today I looked down at those impossible ruby-colored berries shining in the hot afternoon sun and couldn't believe they'd found a way to survive. It suddenly all made sense to me--why I can't give up. Why I must have faith. Why I must keep believing in my little lost lamb. He is both body and spirit, mortal and immortal. A child of mine, but a son of God. If his nature is divine, heavenly, and from above, than that true nature will find a way. It is the same nature that created the universe, the very same power that created you and me. I have to believe he can survive and that he will come through. I have to, because somehow flowers bloom in the wildest places. Trees grow in sidewalk cracks. Strawberries grow in dirty ditches. 

Someday this cluttered, confused man-boy will find his way out of the dirty ditch along the roadside. In my heart I know it's true. If a gorgeous, flourishing fruit can come out of that mess polluting our little spot in the world, then surely, my weedy, overgrown boy can find his way out of the trenches, too.