If Goats Can Do This, Then…
Ginger Stache
This is a real photo. I know because I took it myself! My family and I were traveling in the desert outside of Casablanca, Morocco, toward the Atlas Mountains when we saw an absolutely crazy sight. It was one of those things that stopped us dead in our tracks and made us do a double take because we couldn’t believe our eyes. I felt like I was seeing a Photoshopped image, but then I remembered this is real life. (I wish Photoshop worked in real life. How awesome would that be? But it does not.) This was a Ripley’s Believe It or Not! kind of moment.

There was a field containing several bushy, thorny trees, about twenty feet tall. These trees were full of goats. Not birds, not squirrels—goats. And I’m not talking about your typical goats hanging out on the ground at the base of the trees; these goats were actually climbing the trees. They were all over them, standing on the tiny branches throughout, all the way to the top. Some trees had as many as ten goats climbing in it.

So many questions! How did these hoofed, ground-dwelling creatures do it? And who was the first goat standing on the ground below to look up at the branches and say, “I’m going up there”? Did he or she take flak from the others? “Wait a minute, Pat, are you crazy? Look at your spindly legs and tiny hooves. It’s not like you have opposable thumbs or a long tail for holding on to a branch. This is not going to work!” And then, they probably threw out that classic statement, “We’ve always been down here, and we should stay down here.”

Evidently undaunted by the jeers of the crowd and looking for something new and better, I imagine Pat began the climb. Step by step, Pat began to realize what was always considered impossible was in fact not, and the payoff for this adventurous determination was a delicious meal of once unreachable fruit. When the other goats looked up in absolute amazement and saw Pat standing at the top of that tree, they must have followed suit, changing their lives for generations to come. And what do I imagine those goats from Casablanca probably said? “Well done, Pat. Here’s looking at you, kid.”

How many adventures do we miss out on because we’ve been told it isn’t possible? How many wonderful opportunities and amazing things do we say no to because no one else we know is doing it? Jesus said in Matthew 19:26, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” We are not bound by the limits others place upon us or even the boundaries we often put on ourselves. If we can shed those preconceived ideas of what we can or should do and instead offer God a heart open to anything and everything He wants for us, like those Moroccan goats, it can change us and generations to come.

I had yet one more question concerning these innovative goats: What was so enticing at the top of that tree that it drew them to do the impossible? I learned the goats climb only one species of tree—the argan tree, which produces a small yellow fruit that is apparently delicious to hungry little goats. They stay with their feet planted firmly on the ground, eating the low-hanging fruit until there is no more and they must venture higher. Then, there is no stopping them.

You’ve probably heard of argan oil, which comes from this Moroccan fruit. I actually got to hold one of the baby goats and it actually had wonderfully silky, smooth hair—though I can’t promise that can be attributed to the oil. I have used it on my own unruly hair, and it’s good stuff. However, since I now know the original process for discovering and producing this oil, it’s not so appealing.

The goats eat the yummy fruit, which contains a nut inside that is indigestible. Those nuts pass through the goat’s system whole and come out the other end, softened by the trip. People first began discovering the benefits of argan oil by harvesting those tiny nuts out of the goat excrement and grinding them to extract the oil. If you’re following me, you may have already thrown out your argan oil shampoo, but no worries, the industry has found new ways to process the oil. You aren’t washing your hair in goat poop. But to be completely honest, if it guaranteed great hair days, I might do it anyway.

I am a journalist at heart, so as you can see, I ask a lot of questions, like who first decided to dig through the goat poo to see what they could find? And who was so curious that they rubbed it on their skin and hair to see what it would do? Whoever they were, I am glad they did.
Most of history’s innovation stems from natural curiosity and a healthy sense of adventure. We owe much to people who chase a little wonder and think outside of the box, try new things, and don’t allow their limited perspective or fears stop them from attempting the impossible. Many of us owe silkier hair to those who were not thwarted by a little smelly goat poo.

Who knew I could learn so much from one very surprising experience with a tree full of goats? I realized I don’t want to keep my feet safely on the ground if God wants to help me climb higher. I don’t want to see only limitations where God sees possibility. I believe there are adventures waiting for me out there I don’t want to miss, things for me to learn and experience, and even new discoveries that may benefit someone else. So, when it is tempting to say, “No, it’s easier to keep my feet right here comfortably on the ground,” instead I work up the adventure mentality that says, “Get up and try it! It worked for Pat; it may work for me.” Every time I do, my life is a little richer.

– love, Ginger


– Excerpt from Chasing Wonder: Small Steps Toward a Life of Big Adventures

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