Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Life Imitates Nature

This week I’m posting the first of a series of ideas of how Nature teaches us about life. You don’t have to be a scientist to see the connections that Nature shares with humanity. In fact, you don’t have to even believe in God to see it. You just have to observe.

Take, for example, trees. As with all plants, a tree’s root system is the heart of the tree. Though we only see the trunk, branches and leaves, an entire root system remains unseen, nourishing and taking care of the tree. 

Humans are much the same way. Though we have a body that can be seen, our interior well being is at the heart of our growth. What we learn about life, love and living comes from our internal taking in of the world around us. 

The next observation we make about the root system of trees is the method by which they take in minerals and water to survive. If soil is rich in nutrients, then the tree’s roots reach out and take in the food. Roots grow and multiply quickly. Trees respond the same with water. Trees’ roots go out in search for water. Tap roots burrow way below searching for water to keep it alive. When it finds water, other roots follow the tap root, multiply and branch even deeper and further out. But when a tree cannot find water or nutrients, the roots ball up on each other and get lost. The tree withers and either dies or is stunted.

Humans work the same way as trees in this respect…and not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually. If the family, community and world in which we live is rich in love, emotional safety and experience, our interior roots reach out and take in as much as possible. We learn, grow, and flourish in that environment. However, if we are “stunted” by lack of love, safety and experience, our “roots” ball up on themselves. Outwardly we look tired, worn and sullen. Inwardly we feel broken.

While our bodies need water to survive, water (as I’ve shown in past posts ( also maintains a very spiritual meaning as well. Our spiritual selves grow deep in search for that “water,” meant to keep us alive.

Winter is a unique season for trees. Though most of the root growth takes place in June and July, the tree does not go completely dormant over winter. Though the leaves fall off and photosynthesis is no longer predominant, the tree still searches for water and nutrients to survive. In fact, studies show that root growth continues steady when the tree can find warmth and water in the soil. 

I now understand why the cherry tree closest to our house has grown the largest among all the trees that were planted at the same time! The warmth of the pipes underground and our house kept the root system growing without need to shut down because the soil was frozen.

Here again, that physical warmth can be compared to the emotional and spiritual warmth we seek in those winter times of our lives. If the “soil” (or environment) around us is frozen, we can’t move and grow either. Our growth depends on our ability to intake warmth and water as well. 

In the beginning of this post I suggested that you don’t need to believe in God to see the way humans and nature intertwine. While that is true, I believe that the Truth of God enlightens and fulfills our lives in a robust way because God creates nature with us in mind. I believe the idea that we are random or by accident is far from the truth. In fact, there is symbiosis with all of life. We have to be willing to use more than just our eyes to see it. Connections between nature and humans can be found everywhere.  

We are created with body, mind and spirit…no matter what religion you believe. So why not embrace that entire being with the comprehension that there is more to life than what we can see? And perhaps, there’s more than what we can understand…

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


I have heard Christians talk about GPS (God’s Positioning System) in several ways. CBN had a great article

But this week, God’s Positioning System appeared when I was speaking to a good friend who’s looking at the world through different eyes. She sees that the world is changing. Things that didn’t used to be acceptable are now the norm and lines between right or wrong have been blurred. 

I try to see things analytically and I typically use science along with a healthy dose of my faith to find answers. 

I think it’s all a matter of GPS. 

God gave us a conscience and that’s our internal GPS. He gave us an unwavering little voice in our heart that knows what is right and what is wrong. Some would argue that all those tendencies are taught. But I would disagree.  Even the smallest of children understand the idea of fairness and that hurting someone is wrong. They may lash out in anger, but they blush when called on it. 

So there’s something “built in.” It comes naturally. We can even see it in movies and literature. We cheer with the hero when he makes a valiant effort to save someone (because we innately know the value of life) and we mourn with them when they make destructive decisions (that usually take them away from their path to success or happiness). It isn’t something we’re taught. It’s innate. 

Science has its own idea of conscience and the fields of psychology and psychiatry are testaments to it. However, they exclude the idea that there’s a God because it’s a “science.” Once again, if we would just marry the idea that science and faith belong together we could see “conscience” in a whole different light. (BTW: These two fields do have ethics policies… where those ethics come from?)

So why do we feel that black and white has turned to gray? Perhaps we see that we’ve stopped following the little voice inside that tell us what is wrong and what is right. Instead, we tell ourselves to ignore it and just “do what is best for me.” Which typically starts out great then tapers off. Those things we thought were best end up creating unhappiness. Unhappiness leads us down two different roads. Justification and/or denial. 

Justification is rampant when “celebrating” the compromises we think will make us happy. Hey, if I make bad choices, you can too! As a matter of fact I appreciate your rotten choice because it makes me feel better about myself.

Denial is different. When we are unhappy, denial drives us to turn to something to comfort or fulfill us. Those "comforts" deceive us into thinking that they are helping, when really all they are doing is squelching the voice of truth inside. Denial comes in many forms: gambling, drugs, overeating, excess shopping, too much time on video games or the internet, sex addictions, etc. All provide temporary relief but have negative long term effects. We usually end up more lost and more incomplete than when we started. 

What does this have to do with GPS? It’s all in the destination.

My car’s GPS has to have a destination. It has to have some place to go. When I’m tired or when I’m finished I tell it to “Go Home.”

It’s no different with our internal GPS. “Home” is that hole in your heart, that need for what you are lacking. God created us with that longing. It’s a longing for Him, for Home, for Heaven. That longing cannot be filled by someone or by something. In the end, it is all transient. Life is short. But there is more…and for some reason, we internally grasp that there is more than this life. Why? Internal GPS.

We have choices with GPS. We can follow our own directions (or as my car’s GPS says, “recalculating”) or we can follow the direct route. There’s no doubt I’ve taken many of my own routes, detours and dead ends. But the times when I’ve been truly happy, is when I listen to my internal GPS. 

God’s got my back if I will let Him. In fact, He left instructions in my GPS.