Thursday, 24 December 2015

A Gardening Metaphor for the Coming Year

I was up a few hours before the rest of the family this morning, so I curled up on the couch in the lamplight to read. And got to thinking. And pulled out a notebook and started writing. And as sometimes happens during periods of quiet reflection and introspection, thoughts I never knew I had in my head came pouring out of my pen. And here is the insight I had this morning, with the wind whistling outside and the house hushed and sleeping.

I know I often beat myself up for not doing everything correctly or well, and I'm especially hard on myself for not having done in the past all that I knew I should be doing. I got caught up in the day-to-day and "young motherhood" chaos and neglected some of the more important things. I'm reaping -- I think -- some of the results of that in my present life. I tend to see my children's struggles as the result of something I neglected or failed to do in the past. I have always had a hard time not judging myself harshly about this. But here's what came to me this morning: At that difficult period of my life, as a young mother, I was a seed, pushing through mud. Slogging through mud, really. And maybe in my life now I'm beginning to blossom, to become what I'm supposed to become, but I can't look back on that seed and judge it for not being a flower. That seed pushing through mud was a vital, necessary stage of my growth, and any flowering I may be on the verge of now is due to that process the seed went through. It isn't realistic to blame myself for not blossoming sooner, or to expect that seed to have thought as a flower. It was the best seed it knew how to be, and even if there were things I knew at the time I could have done better, it was still an aspect of being a seed: thinking like a seed. I know more now and I can't expect myself to have acted then on what I know now.

But then the really staggering thought followed: God doesn't expect that either. He understands the process and allows for it.

And now it's my children's turn to be seeds pushing through mud, and I need to understand that process and allow for it for them.

Ha! It may not sound profound to anyone else, but I just had an epiphany. And no doubt when I'm eighty and in full bloom, I'll look back on this insight and laugh at how little I still understand.

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