I love flowers. I am absolutely passionate about wildflowers. When we hike I regularly force my poor – long suffering family to stop and look at ALL of the lovely wildflowers that we pass by. And the ferns that grow in the woods – well ferns both enchant and delight me! They come in so many shapes – sizes and shades of green.
I also love trees and the way the sun shines through their leaves. It is endlessly fascinating to watch the way the light dances and shifts and changes from moment to moment. I am a real – honest to goodness tree hugger in both word and deed!
I can and do watch the sky for a very long time and not get bored. The way the blues shift and change is mesmerizing. The clouds and the sunlight play together in ways that delight me. I find it all so very interesting.
I love walking and hiking. The feel of my feet hitting a trail just does something good for my soul. It always has.
I love getting dirt on my shoes! And I joke that you should never – ever trust a “hiker” wearing pristinely clean hiking shoes, because they clearly aren’t a “real” hiker. Real hikers are people with a smudge or two of mud someplace. Real hikers dig in and get messy!
I like mud and messes and dirt and dust and just about everything that comes with being outside.
I will gladly spend all day outside from dawn until dusk adventuring and exploring. Watching and listening and just taking it all in.
And thankfully Jason, Jack, and Will all agree with me. All three of my men also love a good day of adventuring in the great outdoors. They too like to dig in and really enjoy God’s creation – but they aren’t quite as delighted by pretty wildflowers as I am. Will gets tired of hiking long before the rest of us do. They may smile politely when I go on and on about the sun shining through the trees – because they are polite – kind men (but even I know when I have pushed my luck). They will look at the sky with me – but eventually they have their fill of that too.
But that’s okay. It isn’t all about me. Not even close. Families are about meeting the needs of everyone in the family.
And frankly – it totally stinks to be stuck in a family where only one person’s likes and dislikes determine what everyone else has to do all of the time. And you miss out on powerful opportunities to learn and grow as a human being when you insist on getting your way all of the time.
Sometimes you need to do something that is outside of your comfort zone. Sometimes you need to do something new and different. Sometimes you need to let someone else do the choosing and let someone else take the lead. Sometimes you need to have a brand new experience. Sometimes you need to ask someone else what he would like to do and then jump in with both feet and willing heart and soul!
Jason and I have been doing this with the McFarland sons their entire lives and wow have our sons taught us the coolest – most amazing things over the years. Things I would know nothing about if I hadn’t let them take the lead and let them teach me. My boys are excellent teachers and have been since they were just tiny guys. (Most children amazing teachers!)
For a long time now Will has been passionate about “creatures.” He is particularly intrigued by snakes and spiders. And when asked what he would like to do these days – Will wants to go searching for snakes and frogs and spiders and salamanders and just about any other sort of creepy – crawly thing the good Lord created.
So even though that really – really isn’t how I would choose to spend a day out in nature that is exactly what we do anyway. We set forth to seek snakes – because it isn’t about me. It’s about Will and Jack and the snakes! And thanks to Will and Jack’s incredible snake finding skills – we almost ALWAYS find snakes – and snakes – and more snakes.
I must say these days spent seeking snakes are some of my fondest memories of this time in my life. I absolutely – positively love it!
Seriously – I love going “snaking” with my sons.
I look forward to hearing Will yell – “SNAKE!!!!” And when he does I hurry toward Will and Jack and their newest snake as fast as I can – instead of away from them and their snake-y find!
I very much doubt that snakes will ever be my thing. I doubt I will develop a passion for snakes. But my sons love snakes. My sons are passionate about snakes. My sons are absolutely intrigued by them.
My sons are teaching me about snakes and they are teaching me “snake appreciation!”
And snakes – well – thanks to Will and Jack – snakes are kind of – sort of growing on me . . . but only a very – very – very tiny bit so far. I am pretty sure that the flowers and the sky and the trees will still be my “thing.”
So I will point out the flowers and they will take me snake seeking and together we will learn from one another. I think this is a truly wonderful arrangement. And I look forward to many more adventures and opportunities to learn from my sons. I often wonder what Jack and Will will teach me next?!?!
I encourage you to let someone in your life share her passion with you. Does your sister have a passion for modern art that has always left your scratching your head? Perhaps your husband’s love of football dumbfounds you or your daughter’s passion for sloths and newts stumps you. Does your best friend rave about tea and you think it tastes like weeds? Maybe you think your cousin is nuts to waste so much time playing Scrabble or Bingo or euchre. Does your neighbor spend hours staring through a telescope or maybe she is into miniature trains or restoring vintage cars?
We all know and love people who are intrigued by and passionate about wildly different interests from our own.
I encourage you to learn something new from someone in your life who is passionate about it. Instead of rolling your eyes when your crazy pastor talks about knitting and yarn yet again – ask her why she started knitting and why she loves to knit and really and truly listen. And if you can – give it a try. Learn about it. Learn something new.
You don’t have to be sitting in the same room with someone to get to know them better and to learn from them. You can chat on the phone or over Zoom and learn so much and grow and expand your horizons.
The world can be such an intriguing place and when we take the opportunity to learn from one another and to spend time with one another and to grow life is even richer and more blessed.
I look forward to hearing about your passions and your interests and about what you love and all about what makes you – you! And I hope that you will join me in exploring and adventuring and maybe finding a new interest or passion of your own. Who knows maybe Jack – Jason – Will and I will meet you at the river flipping rocks and you can join us on a snaking expedition in the spring!
You are all in my heart – thoughts – and prayers.
In Christ and with Love –