“How a Dandelion Changed My Life” by Lad Allen

He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe
is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.

~Albert Einstein
     There are moments in life that can change everything.  Unexpected events with the power to dramatically transform our families, our faith or our careers.  I had such an experience almost 36 years ago.

In October 1982, I’d just started work as a film editor at Moody Institute of Science.  I was also being groomed to eventually head up the production department. Moody employed a part-time research consultant.  His name was Dave McLaren.  Dave was a retired science teacher and a curriculum advisor for the Los Angeles Unified School district.  He was also a very wise man with a deep love for the Lord.

One Tuesday morning, Dave walked into my office bursting with excitement (actually, he was always excited).  He placed a potted dandelion plant on the floor and exclaimed: Lad, you’re looking at a miracle.  This is one of the great wonders of the world!  My response was less than enthusiastic:  Dave, that’s a weed.  I purposely killed dozens of them in my front yard last weekend.  Undeterred by my lack of enthusiasm, he launched into a 15-minute ode to the glories of this underappreciated plant.

Dave started with the leaves.  They’re biological factories that convert sunlight into chemical energy that produces the oxygen we breathe.  Then he pointed to the flowers:  They have a lot of nutritional value.  They’re loaded with vitamin A, C, B12 and iron. 

     Dave then paused for dramatic effect and pointed to a dandelion puffball that was part of the bouquet.  Each of these little chutes is an incredible mechanism designed to transport a dandelion seed miles away from its parent plant.  I still wasn’t sure where this was all going, but Dave’s enthusiasm for the ordinary was entertaining, so I decided to hang around for a few more minutes.
     Dave went on to explain how the individual chutes were engineered with great sensitivity to moisture.  If the air was damp their flight would be limited, so on wet mornings the chutes closed tightly.
     But when the air dried out, they opened full and were easily carried away by even a mild breeze.  This was my first real lesson in biological engineering.  Dave didn’t know it at the time, but he’d just planted some very potent seeds in my heart.  Seeds of WONDER.
The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy.

Psalm 65:8
     During the Tuesdays that followed, Dave came to work armed with more lessons on other wonders I’d never stopped to notice:  snail locomotion, insect pollination, the construction of a wasp’s nest, the moon’s orbit around the earth.  For Dave McLaren everything in creation was an endless source of fascination—a miracle to be appreciated and explored.  He was teaching me to look at God, and the world, in a new and very important way.
     After a few months at “McLaren University,” Dave’s message really took hold.  I was infected with a heightened sense of wonder and started looking for it everywhere.  In the process, God was taking a guy (me), whose formal science education topped out in a required college freshman biology class, and was placing him on a career path that would ultimately involve making documentaries about the wonders of the universe.  The Lord does indeed work in mysterious ways.
     But there was more.  You see, Dave’s lessons transcended biology and physics.  One of his favorite passages of Scripture was Romans 1:20Since the creation of the world, God’s invisible attributes—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from all that He has made.

That passage still gives me chills.  Think about it.  The wonder so inherent throughout creation isn’t a peripheral by-product of our relationship with God or something of lesser spiritual importance. No way! Instead, the wonders that surround us are direct revelations of God’s “invisible attributes”– His character; His love; His power.  And through His creation, He speaks to us in ultra high definition 3D Technicolor images, 24/7/365.

Since 1997, all of us at Illustra Media have poured our lives into producing films that reflect glimpses of God’s magnificent message to the world.  The entire experience has been a continual source of blessing.

And to think, it all started with a dandelion.

Have a great month,

Lad Allen
Illustra Media
Lad@illustramedia.comP.S. We’ll be releasing a new short film on The John 10:10 Project website in April, May and June.  Updates and links are coming soon.  Please help us share these films via social media.  Send them to everyone you know.  Thanks.

About Jessica Renshaw

This entry was posted in astronomy, Beauty, Bible study, creation, Fulfillment of prophecy, God, Intelligent design, Jesus Christ, Miracles, pictures, Scenery, science, video and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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