When driving around the South, it’s easy to believe that kudzu, that ubiquitous vine, could be slowly gobbling up huge portions of land. A wily green monster that has the capacity to cover anything not moving.
Introduced to America from Japan at the 1876 World’s Fair Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, it didn’t garner much interest. It seemed to take forever to grow, farmers couldn’t figure out its usefulness, livestock would graze on it but it wouldn’t regrow. It pretty much sat on a back burner until 1935.
Drought hit the south hard during this time, and land became stripped of its productivity by vast dust storms. Kudzu was seen as way to help restore the ground and prevent more soil erosion. Millions of seedlings were grown and planted in affected areas. It became the ground cover of choice.
Once rains returned to the South, much of the kudzu was plowed under or grazed away by livestock.
Where it wasn’t affected by man or beast, it was left to grow. Unchecked, it would cover the ground, shimmy up the trunks of trees and light poles, and appear as the green monster that was ingesting the South, one leafy vine at a time.
Such is the stuff of myth and legend. Stories like these grow because perception is often different from truth. I used to be concerned that these vines would wipe out all natural ecology in our area.
That’s not what’s happening.
Kudzu lives in sunny places–it can’t survive in deep forests. And the Japanese kudzu bug–it is real–loves to suck the very life out of these vines.
They’re not indestructible.
I see them everywhere driving in Florida.
What I see from my car window is the myth of the kudzu takeover.
So much of what we claim is real today is our perception after a quick overview of social media, a smattering of research to back up what we think is true, and looking at articles and books that support what we choose to believe.
So many myths live on.
I’ve often wondered why it’s so easy to sway the thinking of others. I remember math and science classes in school reminding us to check our facts, make sure you’ve looked at the problem correctly, or your answer will be wrong.
Truth is now spun from perspectives of folks who want others to believe their way. A situation can be witnessed by different people, and each will have a different rendition of the facts. Many which won’t agree.
We think from the filter of our own stories. From our experiences and understanding.
Truth by its definition must be absolute to be real.
That is unacceptable in a world where truth is relative, and what’s right for one person isn’t necessarily right for another.
Jesus claimed to be the Truth. In the Bible, He set out a way of living well with others. Interestingly, many nations who’ve never heard of Jesus or God have followed these truths as foundations for their societies.
Like kudzu, the myth can carry us away. Truth can be covered by what we see flying by in our daily lives.
Test Jesus. If His truth isn’t lasting and conclusive, chase myths.
There will always be myths.