[It was too dark to take a photo of the tree I found on the walk. Here's a local sunrise instead! ~Photo by Jodi Schwen, all rights reserved.]
Once, while taking an early-morning walk in my neighborhood, I heard a bird singing in the trees overhead. Wanting to identify the source of the birdsong, my eyes were drawn to the treetops. But instead of focusing on the colorful plumage of a north woods bird, I saw a tree. This was my usual walking route and I had passed this same tree hundreds, if not thousands, of times. For some reason I truly noticed it. Before I describe the tree and you think I've taken leave of my senses, know that I'd not been drinking anything stronger than black coffee. This tree was notable because the bottom trunk half appeared to be an oak and the top half looked like a birch.
I tried to find out that could have happened. One forester theorized that oak sprouts came up through a birch cluster and they grew together. It was later determined that it was diseased, thus causing the anomaly. Regardless of how it occurred, my morning walk hasn't been the same since. I have mulled this over and applied it to several different life lessons. The most significant at the time was our son graduating from college to become a math teacher. He definitely didn't get his math genes from me!
How often do we ask children, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" When this son was young, his answer was usually, "An astronaut." We have buckets of space Legos to prove it. As a mother, I'm thankful he gravitated toward an earthbound pursuit. But even when he was preparing to graduate from high school, he still didn't plan on becoming a teacher. A career course he took in high school had directed his math interest into the private sector, so he enrolled in engineering college. A year later, after working with kids as a summer Christian camp counselor, he realized that his heart's desire was to use his math abilities to teach kids.
We don't need to plan our whole lives from start to finish. Be prepared to take a new path, branch out into new discoveries . . . try a different direction.
I know I'm still trying to figure out what I'll be when I grow up.