November 25, 2012
A Soul That Hungers
Returning home from church today I passed a gnarled old pear tree. For decades, the once supple sprig grew ,exceeding its natural potential, bearing bushels of small, sweet fruit. As in years past, the neglected fruit fell to the earth, feeding the nectar-loving insects and nocturnal creatures of the area. Through the icy windshield of my van, far to the top of a twisted branch, I spotted the lone pome. A dried leaf blew like a saluting hand to the pear's frozen brow. Reminiscent of a courageous captain riding out the last wave, as his ship plummets into the icy blue abyss, the pear stood centennial on the mother tree.
Living in Indiana, cornfields are a magnificent part of our surroundings. A true token of winter's end are the tiny chartreuse spikes poking through the recently frozen tundra. When planted, the seeds inside the planting boxes all look the same. They fall randomly into the long, deep furrows, finding sunlight, rain and nutrition in the same amounts as the rest of the kernels. Weeks latter the stalks reach high, waving their golden tassels to the hot summer sun. But wait! Look closely. Amid the top of the even sections of corn, sticks a tassel just a wee bit higher than the rest. One inch, six inches, sometimes more, these over-achievers reach to grasp that extra ray of sun.
Why only one or two protruding stalks per field? Why did only one pear refuse to give up its final grasp on life? What makes some believe in rainbows during a torrential rain storm? Are the children we label 'problem', gifted with the same lust for life as the gangling corn stalks and the clinging pear? Do the 'normals' of the world stifle the song in the young composer's bosom or the masterpiece in the youthful artist's eye? I'm not knocking normal, if there was no normal chaos would reign over the earth. They are the solids of the world, the foundation, the security. Without normal who would notice the cornstalk towering above the the flat field or the delicacy of a newly woven spider's web on a dewy morning?
Maybe your soul is the one that hungers to explore a still-darkened corner of the universe, or unleash a song that has never been sung. Maybe, hidden just beneath the obedient layer of your mind, a restless kernel silently trembles, eager to explode into unfathomable genius. Let the 'normals' have the sweetly-deserved comfort of their world. But speaking for myself, a trip into the unknown is often worth the journey.