The Lady Slipper Orchids Remind Us: We Need You

Today I discover the beautiful and rare Lady Slipper Orchids in the forest.

Back in 2011, I learned what they mean in a post I wrote called “Why You Belong Right Here.” It might be one of my top 5 Live with Flair posts. Enjoy below:

I’m walking with my neighbor in the woods.

All of a sudden, she cries out, “The Lady Slippers have bloomed!” She’s pointing to the earth, and at first, I do not see anything.

Then, I see them.

I don’t even really know what I’m seeing or why it matters.  

My friend tells me something wondrous. Lady Slipper Orchids are extraordinary.

It’s illegal to uproot them. It’s actually against the law to harm these wild orchids. I learn two amazing facts that explain why:

First, the US Forest Service reports that Lady Slippers depend upon a very special fungus in the forest that allows the seed to grow. The fungus cares for the seed–-passing on nutrients-–until it grows older. And when the plant matures, it then sends nutrients back to the fungus through its roots. That symbiosis will be destroyed if we harvest the orchids.

Second, I learn that the intricate system of orchid roots means that if you take even one plant away, you harm the entire network of orchid plants. 

Every single one matters. And the location isn’t an accident.

As I think about the impossibly complex design that allows these orchids to thrive, I consider my own community. Every single person nourishes each other, and we’re here for a reason. There’s nothing accidental about it. The conditions for our growth exist only here.

Doesn’t God tell us that He “searches out the exact places where we live” (Acts 17) and that we are “all part of one body”? (Romans 12)

You are here for a marvelous reason. We need you! And even when these growing conditions seem like, well, fungus, this is what we require to thrive.

Living with flair means really seeing ourselves as a community and knowing why it matters. We are part of each other. 

Finally, it took another person to reveal this beauty to me. I would have never noticed these Lady Slipper Orchids without her. Living with flair means that when our neighbors don’t see it, we show them. 


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