Blog Archives

The Starfish in the Greenhouse

My dad is a man of nature.

He has a degree in forestry, and even now, on the verge of  80-years-old, he still nurtures gardens full of flowers and vegetables.

starfishIf I had only one word to describe him, that word would be green.

He had a green thumb and, when I was still a child, he even built his own green house. That ensured that when conditions didn’t cooperate with his plans, he could still grow the plants he wanted.

Because he was a man of dirt and seeds, I’ll never be able to think of my dad as a person of sea and surf.

But my mother is.

She’s loves to sit on cliffs over the ocean and watch waves crash into the rocks.

To this day, the only times I remember seeing my mom not being productive were the moments she spent watching the ocean.

Maybe that’s why my dad made sure she had that opportunity at least once a year.

On one of those trips to the Oregon Coast during my childhood, I found a starfish on the beach.

My dad, who was walking with me along the shore when I picked up the starfish, seemed less than delighted that I wanted to keep the starfish. But he let me take it home anyway. He even suggested I put it in the greenhouse so it would dry out.

I took him up on his suggestion, but I grew to regret it.

The starfish may have dried out, but it also stunk up the greenhouse.

For years it stunk up that greenhouse. And every time I entered it, I was reminded of that stinking starfish.

But my dad never mentioned it.

I doubt I’ll ever know why he didn’t, but I’m pretty sure the answer has something to do with love.

Love isn’t about having people in our life who find peace in the same place we do.

Love is about having people in our life who show us how to find joy in places we wouldn’t otherwise look.