Once again, I failed to come up with a cool intriguing creative name for this assignment. I just couldn’t bring myself to call it The Useful Shelf Fungus, which is what the name would be if I were to take Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree for an exact model. Thus, the not-very-exciting-but-more-exciting-than-TheUsefulShelfFungus-name of…An Unnamed Story.
The second Creative Writing assignment this school-year was to write a metaphor for Christianity. I ended up with five metaphors, and the fifth one was rather unexpected — fungus. Well, for this metaphorical story, I chose to expand that idea of fungus into a tale which will hopefully convey an important lesson.
This is something that I have struggled with in the past and continue to wrestle with from time to time. Sometimes it feels like I’m not doing anything important and just wasting my energy and what talent God has lent me. In these times I always have to remind myself that my job may not be glorious, but if I am living in obedience to Him, it is most definitely important. Whether I am tucked away in a dark corner or on display in a forest or somewhere in between, He sees my heart and my attitude in all that I do — even if it’s something as unpleasant as decomposing garbage.
Oh, and just so you know…I’m not obsessed with fungus or anything. Really. I don’t even really like mushrooms that much, except on pizza. It was one of those things that just randomly popped into my head and I realized that it actually made for an apt metaphor.
An Unnamed Story
Once upon a time, there was a shelf fungus who lived in the forest on a log. This fungus had a beautiful creamy color and soft, frilly edges. She lived on the very biggest log in the forest…but she was not happy.
…She longed to stand tall and majestic, like the trunk that she lived upon had been long ago.
…She wanted golden-green leaves, like the young spring trees all around her.
…She yearned, with all her soft mushroom heart, to spread long, slender arms out to the sky and tickle the wind with her finger tips.
…And most of all, she wanted to do something important — to provide a lovely cool haven for humans to rest beneath and small animals to play under.
But she was not a tree. She was not a flower…not even a weed! She was only a shelf fungus who decomposed old tree trunks in the dampest corner of the forest. And if anyone had gone to that damp corner quite early in the morning, they might have seen tear drops trembling on the soft, frilly edges of the shelf fungus because she thought that she was no use.
One day, as the shelf fungus sat on her log, daydreaming about trees and leaves, she was interrupted by the sound of humans talking. Brushing away a tear or two and sprucing herself up as much as possible, the shelf fungus listened to the words of the twosome that came strolling along the forest path.
“Grandfather, what is that white stuff?” asked the little boy, pointing toward the log where the shelf fungus sat.
“That is one of God’s most amazing creations,” replied the grandfather. “It helps to do one of the most important jobs in the whole world — cleaning away debris and turning garbage into rich food for growing plants. Without fungi, none of these plants could live.”
“Why is it all frilly and soft, Grandfather?” the boy queried.
The grandfather smiled and took the little boy’s hand as they approached the shelf fungus. “Because God chose to display His beauty in a soft, frilly white way. See how the shelves of the mushroom make little houses for spiders and tiny insects?”
And so their talk ran on. After a time the boy and the grandfather continued their walk, but the shelf fungus hardly noticed. She was busy pondering what the grandfather had said.
After that day, the shelf fungus lived happily on her log in the dark corner of the forest, turning garbage into rich food for growing plants and displaying her quiet beauty to those who took the time to admire her Creator’s handiwork. And whenever she grew lonely or discontented, she remembered the tiny spiders who took refuge under her shelves and the tiny insects who played in her shade and was glad. For she knew that she did not need to be a grand tree in order to be useful — she simply needed to do the job which had been given her.
p.s. Photography is not mine…got it off of Google Image.