No, I’m not into bonsai trees, and I’m not Japanese. If you think about it, “Klauss” has more than a touch of German in it. Bet you never heard stories about some guy named Hans from Bavaria gushing over a 3″ pine tree and pruning it with tweezers in hopes of one day achieving a perfect miniatureization of the grand soaring behemoths that grow so proudly just outside his door. Point is, I love the outdoors and the trees which each play their part in creating the forests; never would I have the desire to shrink that awesomeness down and attempt to bring it into a little Mike-made environment.
Well, at least not until I met Fred.
Our first meeting was less than proper and did nothing to encourage his trust in me. Actually, I should say that I nearly destroyed him while yanking weeds out of the decorative stones between the sidewalk and building where I work. It wasn’t until later that I rescued him from my bucket-o-weeds after noticing that he obviously didn’t fit in with the pile of lower-life flora. Kind of a cute thing, I thought; and despite looking thin and scraggly, he still had enough of his delicate root system to go on living – if I would just give him the chance.
Since I’m a sucker for pleas of help from just about anyone or anything, this young juniper soon found a new home, lovingly crafted in a few seconds from a styrofoam cup and a handful of dirt. Of course you can’t just leave a coffee cup with a sprig sticking out of it sitting on the sidewalk and expect it to survive. So after finishing my outside work and washing off the crud and sweat, I picked up my new friend and headed upstairs to the recording studio where the balance of my day would be spent editing.
As soon as I set the cup down on the desk, it came to me: “Fred.” “Fred the studio juniper!”
It wasn’t like he spoke to me through his little pointy green needles, and it definitely wasn’t the voice of God. But somehow I knew that little guy was Fred, and that he would be there with me during those long hours of screaming guitars, racing drums, and off-pitch vocals that I am responsible to coax, and yes, sometimes “fake” back into a passible semblence of musical gloriousness. But does Fred even like music? Does he have two ears or does he listen in mono? Would subharmonic frequencies scare him? Only one way to find out I suppose, so I shared my bottle of water with him and then left him to settle-in while I began working my way through the latest tracks that needed to become a smooth rendition of the past Sunday’s praise and worship.
As it turns out, Fred has acclimated well to the studio environment and has even been observed dancing in his cup when things get pumping. He’s made some new friends, including Pastor Roger, who was formally introduced just a few days ago, and even Sheriff Taylor who was in the studio cutting some PSA’s recently. Fred has been asking repeatedly about getting to meet the guys from Big Daddy Weave when they do a concert here in October, and I keep reassuring him that I’ll introduce him if the guys end up in the studio. Me thinks he might be getting a little big for his cup – ?!?
Some of you are so hung up on the idea of a tiny tree named Fred (and with good reason) that you’re missing the point of this post. Let me explain the name thing so we can get on to the only valid point in this long ramble. My kids will tell you that for some unknown reason, even to me, any little creature we find that needs a name will inevitably be called “Fred.” In those ever-increasing occurrences when I can’t remember someone’s name, they become “Fred.” Why, I don’t know. That’s just what comes to me. It’s simple enough to fit any thing or person in need of a name. (Now if your name really is Fred, and if my glaringly honest explanation of my “Fred-ism” offends you, please share your indignation by commenting below. I promise to respond maturely and without calling you Fred – since the use of that name seems to upset you.)
So why have I befriended a plant and elevated it to such noble status? I haven’t really, and yes, reality still rings true in the crazy space between my ears. Truth is, this almost-weed has become a visible daily reminder to me, a lesson that I think may be worth sharing with others. Quite simply, the lesson is that too often we overlook the small joys in life, placed there by a heavenly father who not only understands what we’re going through, but who knows what we need to make it through. All the wonders of this world, no matter how great or small, remind me that if God has his hand on them, then how much more does He have His hand on me! The beauty of a tender young juniper pushing it’s way up through a bed of rocks to reach for the sun above speaks reassurance to my spirit when I feel like the weight of the world is pushing me down.
Take time to notice the small things around you that most folks rush hurriedly by. Some of the most insignificant objects, animals, and even people who we pass every day are bursting with amazing design and unique purpose – We just need to take the time to notice and appreciate the inspiration that’s all around us.
Now if you’ll excuse me, Fred is asking for a drink … and a little more bass.