In the book Soul Feast, author Marjorie Thompson compares human beings to plants. She states that in order to grow properly, tomatoes need to be attached to stakes and beans need to suspend from strings. Without the support of these stakes and strings, their blossoms wouldn’t have the space - and the sun - they need to flourish and they would most likely wander aimlessly and/or lie on the ground and rot.
I had never really thought about it this way before, but after much careful consideration, I realize she is totally right! Humans really are a lot like tomatoes and beans! Not only do we sometimes share the physical characteristics of these plants…some of us are short, some of us are round, some of us are long and some of us are lean, and sometimes we are red from the sun or green with envy. However, the way we most closely resemble tomatoes and beans is that we, too, need structure and discipline in order to curb our tendency to wander, plus we need the support of a community of friends and mentors because we just can’t go it alone.
We need collective wisdom since no one person ever has all of the answers. We need to surround ourselves with others working toward a similar goal so we will get motivation, support, and friendly competition to push ourselves a bit further than we would have done on our own. We need people who believe in us more than we believe in ourselves on those days when big goals seem impossible and we most want to give up. We need divergent views since we all approach the exact same problem slightly differently.
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Desmond Tutu said “God created us differently so that we could complement each other.” I believe he's right in that it takes a lot of different people with different personalities and skill sets to make things run smoothly. With a brand new year looming, what better time to take a look at the status and strength of your stakes and strings?