Sunday, March 15, 2009

Lift Me Up

by Donna L. Watkins

I see so many stories of life in the jungle and there are lessons to be learned also. Here at La Selva there are many kinds of trails and the ones that have some concrete to walk above the wet and muddy rainforest floor are very nice.

Often there are vines to step over or crawl under, but it all makes for an authentic experience. I love that they don't cut and slash things away just because they're on the path. It all has a purpose and being a biological field station, it is much valued by those studying it.

© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - La Selva Biological Station Trail
Wouldn't it be a wonderful world to live in if humans valued each other and the uniqueness that we all have within. The rainforest is a busy place and yet it seems that the many microcosms within it all function together for a higher plan and purpose. As I see it all unfolding before my eyes day after day on the trails, it makes me feel like if I stayed here in the rainforest, life would no longer have rattling problems or issues. All seems to be at peace with itself. Life and death exists but in between is a realm of beauty not only in sight but in purpose. (See related articles below for more about the wonders of the rainforest.)

I love the visual picture of a caring and sharing attitude that this scene displays.

Not only was the vine allowed to survive, grow, and travel straight across the concrete path, but to keep it from being stepped on a metal "bridge" was made so you can walk over it without walking on it.

Oh my! If only we could go through life by walking over and around people and not on them. Too often our words trample somebody's soul and leave scars and wounds that even time do not completely heal. You have some of those scars, I have some of those scars. They seem to grow and have a life of their own, molding and shaping who we are, rather than who we were created to be.

Maybe somebody told you in school that your clothes were raggy. To dress that wound you continually shop for clothes that look good. Your closet is full of things that rarely get worn ... and maybe rarely get found in the size of today's closets.

Maybe somebody called you names and teased you and made you afraid that you would be hurt. Now, you sometimes twist what people say thinking they mean something else - thinking you are still being called names, but in a more deceptive manner. They aren't attacking you, but your perception causes you to attack yourself because that wound never healed.

Maybe you grew up with violence in your household and any time something doesn't go your way, you get that surging, boiling anger coming forth that you had to bury as a child because you were too small to stand up for yourself. Now as an adult you don't take anything from anybody. You're always ready for a fight and although your heart truly wants peace in the midst of your family, you seem to explode before you get a choice to be calm.

Oh, if only somebody had built a bridge over us while we were growing up, so we could've been protected from all those who trampled over us in the process. Remember "My Fair Lady?" Where Professor Henry Higgins turns an English street flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, into a lady? We all want to be transformed into something more beautiful.

Some people can look back and think of a person or people who gave them some comfort or protection as they were growing up. Maybe a teacher, a neighbor, a friend's mom, or even grandparents. It's amazing how much of an effect you can have on a life by taking time to nuture a bit, to comfort, to encourage, to sprinkle with affection and approval now and then.

© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - La Selva Biological Station Trail
Somebody took the time to "lift up" this vine and tie it till it grew solid and could hold itself up. You could be a piece of rope to somebody's life. One that lifts them up above the destruction of those they will surely encounter who trample everything in their path.

You can show them they have value and purpose and implant within them a knowing that they are loved and cared for by a Mighty God.

It doesn't mean you stand there holding them up. You tie a piece of rope around them (a Scripture from God's Word) and encourage them. Don't participate in listening to the 100th rehearsal of their problems. Nobody gets beyond their problems if they're going to plop themselves down in the muck and mire of their life. God says He will use all for our good (Romans 8:28), so no matter what we're experiencing we can trust in Him to know better and to seek refuge in Him till the storms are over.

If we choose to sink into the misery and give the devil glory for his work in our lives by rambling on about all the evil he's sending your way ... well, we surely do sink. It can take us to our own private place of Hell on earth if we dwell on the circumstances and not on the hope given to us. Like a gift, we have to reach out and accept it. God's grace is sufficient.

Sometimes just telling somebody they can do it is enough to give them the courage to step out. A few words they can tuck away in a corner of their mind that makes them believe that there is somebody (with flesh) who believes in them. Something to hold on to that enables them to move forward. One step at a time out of the mire they want to be rid of.

I find that at times, just a smile lights up somebody's face from gloom to bloom. Have you noticed that smiles are few these days? You can really brighten up the world just by smiling. And you'll reap health benefits for sowing those smiles.

Smiling produces hormones that make you feel better even if you're forcing yourself to do it. Studies have shown that the immune system instantly weakens when you frown and put on a tragic face. When you smile your immune system and your entire body perks up. There are various pressure points in your face that affect your entire system when you flex certain facial muscles.

So, start a new exercise program today. Smile! All day, every day! You will be amazed at how it makes you feel when you get used to it. It's okay to just smile at yourself.

Related Articles:
The Wonders Of The Rainforest
The Forest Floor In The Rainforest
The Strangler Fig
Making A Difference Improves Our Health
I Think I Can, I Think I Can
Life Isn't That Serious

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