Beliefnet
Excerpted with permission from "This Blessed Mess."

Chaos is energy and power, untamed and unformed, but not bad. It can be shaped and channeled, tamed and interpreted in ways that bring new creation to life.

Something may need to die before something else can be born. Something new may come into being, something better, fresher than we had ever hoped for or imagined.

A fascinating example of this dynamic was pointed out to me when I was visiting my son Boo. He was stationed at Ft. Rucker, Alabama, and he and Caroline lived in the nearby town of Enterprise. They were giving me the grand tour of the post and the town, and stopped in the middle of the little downtown to show me a famous landmark statue. "It is the only monument in the world to an insect," Boo said, dryly, waiting for me to comment.

"An insect?"

"Take a look." He drove close to the white statue on a tall pedestal in the middle of a fountain. The statue was of a woman draped in Grecian style holding over her head...a bug!!

"What in the world is it?"

"A boll weevil, Mom. Here's the story. This area was a one-crop farm area, like most of the South. The crop was cotton. When the boll weevils came up from Mexico in 1915, almost the whole crop was destroyed.

"This all but paralyzed the economy of the country and the surrounding areas. The farmers were unable to pay their bills, merchants were caught in the squeeze and couldn't meet their obligations, bankers were caught with loans that could not be called in.

"H.M. Sessions, a banker who had advanced money on the crop to many farmers, began to preach diversification of crops. This was a pitch for the wisdom of having more than one potential source of income. In addition or instead of cotton, he suggested raising corn, or livestock, or maybe peanuts, a crop that was beginning to be grown and sold for many different purposes.

"Farmers were reluctant to give up farming cotton, because it was all they knew. Generations before them had grown it on this same land. Only a few tried diversifying the first year, but with the continued disaster the weevil brought the second year, most began to change to different crops, particularly peanuts.

"The farmers of Enterprise not only regained their losses, but they prospered as never before. As it turns out, cotton is a very labor intensive crop. The money and effort it takes to produce a living in cotton is far greater than for a crop like peanuts.

"And so it was decided," Boo concluded in his tour guide voice, "to dedicate a monument on this spot where we are today."

Getting out of the car, I walked over and read the inscription on the base: "In profound appreciate of the boll weevil and what it has done as the herald of prosperity, this monument was erected by the citizens of Enterprise, Coffee County, Alabama, in the year of Our Lord 1919."
Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus