Guest blogger is Nolan Nichols, a member of University UMC, a firefighter and a fairly new convert to vegetarianism. Thanks, Nolan, for sharing some of your spiritual journey and how it connects with the things we do every day.
Let your good thoughts grow into good actions. The eye can never say to the hand, "I don't need you." The head can't say to the feet, "I don't need you." (Corinthians 12:21) One cannot say that one dancer is more important than the other; the beauty is in the two moving together. Which are more important the fruits or the roots of a tree? (As you read on, feel free to interchange the words, Love and God, as I have come to know one as the other.)
What about the roots and fruits of life? Root of your life, ground yourself, in the soil of love. Let your thoughts and attitudes grow from there. You must be rooted and grow from a firm foundation of love. From this nutritious soil love can grow into all the branches of your life. Spreading off the branches of your life should be the fruit or action of love.
Over the last year I have truly enjoyed a vegetarian diet. It is love that prompted my dietary switch. It was not the health, financial, or environmental benefits of vegetarianism that prompted my decision, but love’s caring grip that held me to my path. It has been a daily cultivation, maintenance of a penetrable heart, opening, and accepting of love that has formed the fruit of a peaceful diet. Being vegetarian is not the goal, but is a fruit of love.
My diet is a constant source of humility. If we look creatively we can be peaceful. Peaceful, with what some call our “God given food.” Animals and people have been dignified in this decision. When it comes to your diet, your interpretation of this blog, your first step into action, trust your intuition. Trust in love. For those adventuring into vegetarianism: find perseverance, find righteousness, and don’t becoming self righteous.
There will always be people who accuse you of not growing in the right direction. Do not worry. There will be someone who spotlights some gnarled branch of your life. There will be someone who wants your tree to look like theirs. “You should be vegan. You should eat meat. Animals were put on this earth for us. There is a speck in your eye.” Come to peace with the inevitability of misplaced judgment. Do not be swayed by the hot winds of those around you, but continue to lean towards the sun.
Enjoy the springing forth of sweetness in your life. Go vegetarian, walk, meditate, sing, give a hug, give a present, give a word of encouragement, take a handout, take a friend to dinner, take a stranger to dinner, let love grow into fruition. The goal is not to have a well pruned little tree of life. Grow a great big expansive loving tree. Let love branch out in all directions and reach yourself skyward and the fruit we bear will nurture us with goodness.