When the trees in our backyard drop their seeds, many of those seeds miraculously find their way right into that tiny gap and without any outside assistance, take hold and begin to grow baby trees. Amazing, really. If it wasn’t so annoying. For a period of time, it seems like we're constantly pulling up those new upstarts to avoid being overrun with unwanted trees.
One day, I had an idea. If it’s so easy for those unwanted tree seeds to find their way into that miniature furrow and grow against all odds, what if we purposely planted flowers that we’d really like to see thrive?
In no time at all, Mike was on his way to Home Depot. He returned with an array of seed packets, which he mixed together just for the surprise element. Our eight year old granddaughter, Mackenzie, excitedly volunteered to be the “planter”. Which she did quite nicely, I might add. So carefully and thoughtfully, but that’s just how she is.
For what seemed like a long while, nothing happened. I actually even forgot about our experiment. But then one day while sitting out on the patio, I noticed a tiny green plant emerging from the stone. Then another one. And another one. Each one was different, sure to surprise us with it's unique mystery bloom.
One plant began growing much faster than the rest. It was tall and gangly and not pretty at all. I told my husband, “That’s a weed. We need to pull it up.” But he, being much more patient about those types of things (okay, ALL things), calmly answered, “It’s not a weed. Leave it be. You’ll see.” I reluctantly agreed, although I didn’t really believe him.
The Pansy was the first to bloom. It surprised us with a sweet little yellow and purple blossom. I took a picture on my cell phone and sent to Mackenzie so she could see the beginning of the fruits of her labor.
It was followed by two vivid deep blue Bachelor Buttons. This was starting to get fun now! Almost every day a new and unique bloom of some sort surprised us. But right in the middle of it all was, yup you guess it, that stupid “weed”! It was now 39” high (Yes, I measured it. Mainly to make a point, but I digress.) And more irritating to me than ever. All I could think was, “How did you get here? What’s wrong with you? Why do you insist on distracting me from the beauty of these other little flowers?” (For the record, I know that’s not healthy or even sane behavior. But because it didn’t actually say it out loud, I rationalized that it wasn’t entirely crazy.)
Looking back, I see that I could have pulled it up at any time and been done with it, but because Mike sounded confident it wasn’t a weed, I humored him.
Then it happened…
I walked outside this morning to see what new treats were in store, and that obnoxious 3 ft. skinny stalk had produced the most stunning blossom which consisted of 18 smaller blooms. A plant lover could have immediately identified this beauty, but I’ve never seen anything quite like it. It was a gorgeous combination of pastel pinks, deep magenta and white. Quite a surprise, indeed!
I stood in awe of its beauty for a while, saying a silent apology for my lack of faith in it and the bad words I’d mumbled under my breath about it. (At least I’m consistent in my irrational behavior.) I returned to my spot in the living room to continue the project I was working on. I had to smile as I glanced out the window. Wouldn’t you know it? Of all the flowers on the patio and my yard, it was the only one I can see from sitting down because it’s so tall!
This whole experience got me to wondering. How does something like a nuisance of a “weed” infiltrating my perfect lovely garden transform into something to be appreciated and valued overnight? It’s all just our perception, isn’t it? What we tell ourselves about the situation.
This led to my second set of questions. Is there a situation, person or event in my life right now that feel like a “weed”? It could range anywhere from a slight annoyance, all the way to a seemingly insurmountable condition. If so, can I make a shift in that experience just by changing my perception of what is?
Because we always have choices in life, we can choose to quickly pluck out the undesirable elements causing us discomfort, and sometimes that’s the absolutely appropriate thing to do. But if we ask ourselves, “What’s good about this right now?” maybe we can alter, even if just a little bit, our perception of the situation.
If we’re having a hard time seeing any good in it, that may be the time to lean on someone else that can hold that until we can do it for ourselves. Many times others are able to observe beauty and possibilities for us that we ourselves aren’t. If you have those people in your life, hold on tightly to them.
And if we’re lucky, one day when the process is over and its purpose has been served, we’ll be able to look back and recognize the beauty, strength, awareness, compassion (you fill in the blank) that that “weed” gifted your life with.
Much love to you all,