Thursday, September 12, 2013

Planting Seeds

I can remember the first time as a child when I planted my first flower.  I was so excited. I went to the gardening center to pick out the perfect plant I wanted to grow.  With money I had earned, I bought the pot, the dirt, the feed, and read the instructions carefully to make sure I did everything just right.  I asked the clerk at the plant store what the words I didn’t understand meant, to make sure I did the proper thing.  It felt odd holding that tiny seed in my hand, knowing it was a viable object, something so insignificant, yet with the right elements, would grow into something beautiful - as long as I followed the instructions.  For a six year old, that was a lot of responsibility. 
When I got home, I circled the outside of my house several times to make sure my flower would have the best spot.  According to the planting instructions it needed to have access to full sunlight.  All day long I’d watch the sun to find out which side of the house stayed brightest the longest.  I realize now that the care I took in preparation for my plant was how I treated all things in my life.  Being the oldest sibling of five brothers with handicapped (blind father and mother with MS) parents, I had been a caregiver and nurturer my whole life. I’m not saying I never had selfish moments, but I lived with a mind frame fraught with preparation, dedication and determination.  I had no other choice. 
I found my perfect sun spot, poked my finger into the moistened and fertilized soil and carefully placed my seed inside and covered it up, making sure I didn’t pat it down and make the soil too compact for it to grow.  That moment was significant, so much so that I still remember it thirty-six years later. I felt good, important and creative in that moment as I stared down at the blackened soil.  But that moment quickly faded.  I thought the hard part was over, when it really had only just begun. 
The next few weeks turned into a cycle of waiting, worrying, pondering and fretting.  I’d worry if the sun was too hot, if the water was too little or too much, if insects would come and kill it before it had a chance to grow, what was it doing under the surface, did I forget anything, and what was taking it so long? None of that torment and torture did anything to speed up the growth of my flower, nor did it slow it down.  The only person it hurt or effected was me.
Needless to say, my plant eventually broke through the surface and bloom into a beautiful flower.  I can’t remember if it ever bloomed a second time or if I discarded and neglected it and it died, because that would be more in keeping to the way I treat plants today, but I’ll never forget that first time.
I still react the same way to other seeds I plant in my life – filled with questioning worry – but I’ve also learned to build hope at the same time.  Having seen the ‘fruit’ of my labors on too many occasions, there is always a remnant of hope that helps to ease the worry for the seeds I’m now waiting to grow in my life.  I still fret over if that seed is being properly nourished and guarded, but I’ve accepted waiting for it to bloom in its right time and right season.  While the waiting part is hard, in the end it’s worth it.
Have you planted a seed in your life?  If so, have a little patience and hope.  It is my hope your fruit/flower will be as beautiful and sweet as you expect it to be, and even more.
Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

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