Our tool shed is dark, damp and smells like something died in there. We are too afraid to investigate. Many spiders live there. It is not a model of organization. (I blame the spiders.) There are sandbags, a dead lawnmower, half a bag of planter dirt, old deck chairs, wood chips for meat smoking and a broken garden hose. Also, old begonia planters.
Last fall when the hanging begonias turned to mush, I took them down, put them in the tool shed and forgot about them.
Last week I went to grab the rake and stumbled upon the begonia pots. I was horrified to see that there were mushrooms growing out of them; long, white stalks with weird feathery tops. I’m sure they were totally poisonous. I felt so guilty that I didn’t plant anything in them and they had turned into hanging mushroom planters.
I took them outside so I could get to the rake. And that is when I discovered that they weren’t mushrooms at all. They were begonias—begonias deprived of light. Now I really felt guilty. What kind of bad mother leaves her babies in a dark closet? I put them out under a tree to gradually get them used to the sun.
In less than three days they started to green up. The power of light! They even started to look a little sassy as if to say, “Mushrooms, eh? Just watch.”
There have been times in the past 14 months where many of us felt as if we were living in a dark, damp tool shed. Most of us survived but not many of us thrived. I mean this literally but I also mean it metaphorically and not just during COVID.
I think we all have had times in our lives where we were living in darkness and there was no light to be found. We went about our daily lives but spiritually and emotionally felt as if we were in a tool shed.
John 8:12 tells us that Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the Light of life.”
I wish he had also added, “My Light will help you grow.” Or he could have said, “The Light of my love will change you from a mushroom to a green and blooming begonia.” (But my research tells me there were no begonias in Biblical Israel.)
How do we find that Light? Many people find it in Sunday worship. Just as many find it hiking in the mountains, walking in the neighborhood, scripture reading, cooking a meal, scratching a dog, petting a cat, rocking a baby, planting a flower, praying, sitting, practicing yoga.
The list goes on and on because each one of us is unique and have our own ways of finding Light. But what is it that prevents us from doing just that? What keeps us stuck in the tool shed looking like mushrooms?
I can’t promise that the answer is obvious. But I can promise that just a little Light will have you flourishing in no time.