I visited a local park today. I love to run away from telephones, faxes, and beepers just to reclaim my sanity. Sometimes it works.
I was sitting on a bench at the edge of the lake. A young man, a summer parks employee, walked up with a bucket filled with tools and a determined look on his face. The pavement that led to this spot was cracked and filled with weeds. It was his job to change that.
"I don't know why I'm doing this. They'll be back in a few days," he said.
"Where's your super-powered weed whacker?" I asked.
"We don't have enough to go around," he replied. "The older guys get to use them."
"I still don't understand why God made weeds to begin with," I said. "They grow over all the beautiful stuff and choke out the flowers."
"But they are beautiful. One man's weeds are another man's flowers," he said with a smile. "And they should serve as an example to anyone who wants to get ahead in life."
This college boy was trying to convince me that there's a lesson in the life of a weed. I see a lot of possibilities in life, but this one is going to take some convincing.
He went on to explain: "Weeds adapt to wherever they are. Have you ever seen a single weed growing in the middle of a parking lot? What were the odds that this weed would find even the smallest crack, root itself, and grow. What about their ability to make a comeback? Did you ever pull a weed and days later it's back again? That's because its roots go deep. We chop it off at the head and it comes back. People don't come back that quickly."
I sat quietly for once. He was making sense.
"Bloom where you are planted," I said.
"It's based on something Paul said in the Bible. You're right--we always want to be somewhere else. We cry and moan about our circumstance and fall between those same cracks that weeds flourish in," I said.
"Where we are is where we should grow?" he asked.
"The difference between people and weeds is we have what I call the gift of choice. We can choose to grow, sow, or go. We can grow where we are, with what we have, or sow our gifts and talents for future growth, or go on to a better environment suitable for our needs," I said.
"The weed is pretty incredible, isn't it?" said the young man.
"Yes, and so are you, my friend. You taught me a great lesson today," I said as I shook his hand.
"We both learned something. This helped me to decide what I want to do in college."
"Let me guess. Something to do with the environment," I said.
"Oh, no. I hate the outdoors. I'm going into finance. I want to make it big so I can hire someone to pull my weeds for me."
He was kidding, right?
I turned 54 on July 18th. It's a funny place to be at this point in my life. When I was a kid I learned from adults. Now when I am an adult I'm learning from kids.