“Growth is the only evidence of life.” – John Henry Newman [Tweet this.]
Some of the greatest life lessons come from the most surprising of places.
I was reminded of this while playing with my kids over the weekend. A football got lodged in one of our Magnolia trees.
I had to carefully navigate through the bright blossoms decorating the branches to recover the ball.
I came out not only a hero with the ball in hand – but also with a reminder of the beautiful lessons that magnolia trees have taught me about life, death and the possibility within each day.
Lesson 1: Life is seasonal.
Elevens years of marriage, four children’s births, and three different houses: Beth and I have been fortunate to have at least one Magnolia in our yard through it all. It’s a beautiful full tree, with intricate branching; perfect tree for climbing on, building a fort in, or sitting below.
The reason I love it, though, are the flowers. Each spring brilliant whites, red, purple and pinks pop to life from these trees.
Like many trees, it has a completely different look during each of the four seasons. In winter it’s covered with desolate brown branches. Then springs to life with flowers as winter ends. Those blossoms making way for the green leaves that wave all summer long. And as winter approaches again, they turn to yellows, then reds, then brown, then fall.
Wash and repeat.
Year after year. And it’s been doing this for more than 90 million years!
Seasons changes. Everything is cyclical. The history of civilization consists of the rise and falls of mighty empires. A successful business today becomes tomorrow’s failure. A winning sports team has players that age, break down, and must rebuilds. Nothing in life is stagnant.
So we can curse the difficult season we’re in or we can acknowledge this too shall past, life wears true, and Spring will indeed come again.
Lesson 2: Death produces life.
The trees looks completely dead for six months of the year. No life. It’s dark, gray, motionless, lifeless. And yet, as March warms toward April, small buds begin to pop on the branches. Oftentimes overnight a tree that seemed barren and dead ignites into abundant life and beauty.
This truth plays in all of nature. Painful loss leads to new opportunities for growth. The end of one relationship creates space for the beginning of a new one; the loss of one job paves the way for chance at another. And in my faith, this past weekend reassured me that even the greatest loss in life, death, is not final. It gives birth to a new, vibrant and perfect new life.
Lesson 3: Don’t miss it.
Three years ago was my busiest year ever for my company, Rising Above. I had 166 speaking engagements in 40 states and six countries. It was crazy. It was awesome. It was amazing to impact so many audiences in so many places. And it will never happen again.
You see, in some regards, I traded a year of my family for a year on the road. It’s a trade off that just wasn’t worth it for me.
There was one stretch when I was gone for seven consecutive days in the early spring. I kissed Beth and my kids, left for the airport and came back a week later. The kids were a little bigger, Beth was a little tired, and the Magnolia in our front yard that had been dormant, woke up, fully blossomed. And dropped its pedals. All in a week.
Life happens quickly.
Don’t miss the incredible beauty that is there for you to see out your window today. [Tweet this.] More than that, don’t miss the incredible beauty sitting across from you, pulling on your pant leg, asking you for five more minutes of stories. These are blessed times – see within them the miracle and brevity of this moment.
So my friends, today, take some lessons from nature blossoming in front of you. Life is seasonal, death leads to life and don’t miss the gift of today.
What piece of nature have you been enjoying this new spring season? Share in the comments below and help us celebrate the blossoming nature in front of us today.