The Audacity of a Magnolia

joe —  Sun 11-Jul-10

Our house sits on a very heavily wooded lot surrounded by large oak, maple, and cherry trees. Sitting on our back porch, staring at this beautiful forest is where I write nearly all of the Stranded Starfish columns. It is here where I see the hand of our Creator at work.

Then when I peer around the corner of the house I come in full view of what can only be described as God wanting to express himself. Here stands a tree that was given to me by my wife and mother-in-law, a constant reminder of how much they understand me. I cannot pass by this tree without stopping to notice it and go “Wow!”

Magnolia Flower.jpgThe Southern Magnolia is truly audacious. It refuses to conform to every other tree around it. Unlike going to a book to figure out what type of oak you have there is no mistaking a magnolia – you could recognize it from a quarter of a mile away. It doesn’t just bloom with a lot of tiny buds – it comes on full force with only a handful of gigantic, fragrant flowers. It dares to conform to the fast growing trees that populate most subdivisions and soon get blown away. It takes it’s sweet time to reach 90 glorious feet. When it does it blots out light to everything below it with one foot long, five inch wide leaves. It then defies all other logic by deciding to keep it’s leaves throughout the winter.

The audacity of the Southern Magnolia is irrational and yet very inspirational. How dare it not be like the others? It is an ancient tree yet no other tree has tried to mimic its success. It stands not seeking permission nor forgiveness for being different but “is” in a very different and special way. It shines in a light all of its own.

It was yesterday morning, as I gazed again on this majestic creation that some very powerful words started playing in my ears – words that once adorned my computer desktop as a constant reminder of my aspirations. Words that today will be placed there once again.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Marriane Williamson

Today’s Question
What part of your life have you chosen to be audacious?