In warm weather, I spend a lot of time outside. The songs of the birds, the whisper of the wind, and beauty of the woods and wildflowers seem to be inviting me to come out to play.
And most of the time, I go.
The other day while riding our land with the dogs, I looked up at the blue and white sky and asked God to teach me a lesson I needed to learn. I asked without a catch in my prayer because although I don’t always like what He has to teach me, I want to be taught. Especially by Him.
When I took the above picture I grinned inside. This is the edge of our clover garden – 2 acres dedicated to growing five kinds of clover. Except that along the way, the planter had some leftover wildflowers in the nooks and crannies.
The dogs waited patiently for me to get the shot and when I joined them back on the Gator I told them, “Things aren’t always as they seem.” They wagged their tails because they love it when I talk to them.
We headed for the pond to do a little dragonfly watching. Standing on the edge of the water I noticed the nettles.
I’d had my first run-in with them when I was a little girl walking by the creek with Daddy. When the stinging started and we saw the white welts on my skin, he quickly made a mud pack. The relief was great and I’d never been so happy to be muddy in all my life.
Not long ago, I wandered near a patch of what I thought was motherwort – a plant with pretty little blossoms.
And somehow I brushed up against some welt-raising nettles with their tiny needle-like hairs. My arms and neck felt like they were on fire.
The pond is kind of icky and I didn’t have the heart to dig my hands in for some mud. Instead, I rinsed my arms off with a full bottle of drinking water. Then I hurried to the house where I washed again, applied cortisone cream, and ice packs. I also drank two cups of coffee for non-medicinal reasons.
While waiting for the pain to subside that day, I decided to Google the enemy plant and learned nettles are full of nutrients and antioxidants. They can be eaten, drank, and worn. Some people grow then intentionally. There are even nettle eating contests. You can learn more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urtica_dioica
Backing away from the nettles before they got me again, I looked at the dogs and said, “Things are not always as they seem.” Sweet little animals that they are, they wagged their tails again.
When we resumed our explorations, I noticed a bug. He looked sort of dapper and I snapped his picture. I told Jon about him and he said, “He’s a firefly.”
If you’ve ever watched Sleeping Beauty, you know that when Aurora’s tiny helpers float off, they look for all the world like fireflies. And we all know Tinkerbelle is all kinds of tiny, but the little sparklers aren’t fairies. They’re bugs – good looking, but bugs all the same.
I’ve always known this, but still, little girls and older girls don’t mind a little pretending now and then – even when we know things are not always as they seem or what we want them to be.
Finally, we stopped along the driveway to look at some grass. From a distance, the heads looked dehydrated and prematurely brown.
But up close, I knew I’d find that each head was full of these tiny blossoms and they were flourishing. (I discovered this a few years ago, and it still thrills me!)
The lesson God had for my heart to hear was gently sinking in. It wasn’t new, but reminders are always good. Especially His.
He wanted me to see that things aren’t always as they seem and to really see them (and people) as they are, we have to take the time to look and then look closer. And then . . . closer still.
Since that day, a double yearning has filled my heart. I want to lay aside all assumptions and take the time to look deeper into the hearts of the people around me. And I long for people to really look at my heart and then, I want them to look closer yet.
Because really – things are not always as they seem.
Until Next Time,