There are so many amazing lessons that we can learn from nature. One lesson I learned from nature was several years ago was that the sun always rises after the darkness. This was brought to my mind again today as I was on a group mentoring call with Kirk Duncan. He shared the following quote by Marcel Proust, “For a seed to achieve it’s greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, it’s insides come out, and everything changes. to someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.”
Kirk then talked about how plants do 50% of their growth in the roots. Plants have a strong base to be able to grown up out of the soil.
Another lesson from nature comes from a story I heard several years ago. Hugh B. Brown shared a lesson from his life.
He told of purchasing a rundown farm in Canada many years ago. As he went about cleaning up and repairing his property, he came across a currant bush that had grown over six feet (1.8 m) high and was yielding no berries, so he pruned it back drastically, leaving only small stumps. Then he saw a drop like a tear on the top of each of these little stumps, as if the currant bush were crying, and thought he heard it say:
“How could you do this to me? I was making such wonderful growth. … And now you have cut me down. Every plant in the garden will look down on me. … How could you do this to me? I thought you were the gardener here.”
Hugh B. Brown replied, “Look, little currant bush, I am the gardener here, and I know what I want you to be. I didn’t intend you to be a fruit tree or a shade tree. I want you to be a currant bush, and someday, little currant bush, when you are laden with fruit, you are going to say, ‘Thank you, Mr. Gardener, for loving me enough to cut me down.’”
Years later, Hugh B. Brown was a field officer in the Canadian Army serving in England. When a superior officer became a battle casualty, he was in line to be promoted to general, and he was summoned to London. But even though he was fully qualified for the promotion, it was denied him because he was a Mormon. The commanding general said in essence, “You deserve the appointment, but I cannot give it to you.” What he had spent 10 years hoping, praying, and preparing for slipped through his fingers in that moment because of blatant discrimination. Continuing his story he stated:
“I got on the train and started back … with a broken heart, with bitterness in my soul. … When I got to my tent, … I threw my cap on the cot. I clenched my fists, and I shook them at heaven. I said, ‘How could you do this to me, God? I have done everything I could do to measure up. There is nothing that I could have done—that I should have done—that I haven’t done. How could you do this to me?’ I was as bitter as gall.
“And then I heard a voice, and I recognized the tone of this voice. It was my own voice, and the voice said, ‘I am the gardener here. I know what I want you to do.’ The bitterness went out of my soul, and I fell on my knees by the cot to ask forgiveness for my ungratefulness. …
“… And now, almost 50 years later, I look up to [God] and say, ‘Thank you, Mr. Gardener, for cutting me down, for loving me enough to hurt me.’”
I am just know beginning to understand growth. As I look back on my life the growth beneath the surface did not feel like growth. It only felt painful and destructive. I didn’t realize that those times of complete destruction, being buried, or being cut down were just part of my growth.
Thanks to amazing mentors and coaches, I am seeing growth as well as areas where I am strengthening my roots and other areas where I am blooming.
Misty Tripoli stated, “The most helpful coaches are the ones who can help you better understand YOURSELF, your abilities, your weaknesses, your blind spots, and your opportunities.”