A second grade class sat in front of their little cups of dirt, thinking about what was going on underneath the soil. Only a few days prior they had placed a seed deep underneath, hoping that it would one day sprout. They were only in the second grade so they couldn’t really understand the concept that they had to put it underneath the soil. They didn’t see the point of why the seed had to work so hard to push its sprout all the way to the top of the soil. Why couldn’t we just make things easier for the poor seed and keep it on top of the surface in the sunlight? Why couldn’t we just help it by opening it up and pulling the sprout out of the seed ourselves? Why did the seed have to take time and effort to become what it needed to be? But the seed knew. The seed knew that in order to grow, it needed to be buried under the dirt, smothered in darkness and it had to work hard to reach the light. And so it did.
This simple example of the perspective of second graders on the sprouting of a seed and growing of a plant retells itself time and time again throughout our lives, but on a different level. As adults, we may smile at the innocence of these children, knowing that one day they will realize that there are certain processes that may seem hard and useless but are actually essential, just like in this plant. But often times we fail to take that same example and place it in our lives. There are times in life we need to grow, need to become better and stronger people. It is during those times that we find ourselves smothered in darkness, feeling hurt and disconnected. We may feel like we are covered in layers upon layers of dirt, not knowing how to take a breath, and we just want to reach the surface and break through to the light. But we know that in order to do that, we are going to work really hard, and at times it may hurt beyond belief. It is at these times that we often get frustrated and confused with what Allah is putting us through. We may begin to question why Allah would even allow this to happen or why He isn’t helping us in the way that we are asking. And no matter how hard we think, we just cannot see the wisdom in being locked in layers of darkness, struggling to reach the top. It is at this moment that we need to stop, take a step back and learn from nature. Stop and imagine what would happen to the seed if it simply stopped trying because it was too tired to push through and struggle to the top. Imagine what would happen to a butterfly if, after being wrapped in its cocoon for so long, it decided to stop pushing its way out and spread its wings. Imagine what would happen to a baby chick if it stopped pecking its way through the egg to make it to the world where chicks become chickens.
Things may seem to be tougher than necessary, for longer than necessary, in places where we don’t want them to be. But know, nothing is without reason and nothing is without cause. Allah sent us examples in His creation to constantly give us motivational boosts to get us throughout our days. Open your eyes to the signs of Allah and embrace your inspiration to move forward.
As Richard Carlson says, “If you watch how nature deals with adversity, continually renewing itself, you can’t help but learn.”