Growing up, I always enjoyed visits to my grandfather’s home.
First off, he always gave me a dollar. Part of the excitement was to think of all the candy I would buy with that dollar. But more importantly, it just meant something that it was a dollar he gave me. He’s been gone for many years now and today, that dollar wouldn’t get much. Yet, I would give almost anything to get just one more from him.
Another treat from those visits was the walks we’d take through his garden. Grandpa loved gardening and his was the most beautiful one in town. He always said the flowers teach us so much. There was one particular lesson he shared that has stayed with me. If my memory is right, I was around twelve at the time.
We were taking a very familiar walk. The aroma of his prized roses greeted the entrance to the garden. Just down from them was a bed of daffodils that sprung tall, giving the appearance of standing in formation. Their bright orange centers proclaimed beauty’s climax, their pedals a vibrant yellow that rivaled the sun that warm day. In fact, it seemed that all of grandpa’s flowers were extra alive during our stroll. That day, they were at the pinnacle of their bloom.
“Grandpa, all these flowers are SO beautiful!”
“Aren’t they, Sweetheart? They all look especially alive today.”
“How did they get that way? I’ve seen flowers in other gardens or at the flower store. They’re pretty but they don’t look as bright as these do. Why are these so … alive?”
“Well, I can’t say much about the flowers in other gardens or in stores. But I can tell you, about the flowers in my garden. And one secret to how well they bloom is that once they get planted, they stay put.”
She looked at him with stunned amazement, “Huh?”
“When I plant my flowers, I do a number of things to help them grow strong. I prepare the soil and make sure they’re in a place where they’ll get lots of sun. I also water them daily and watch over them to make sure they aren’t eaten up by bugs or animals.”
“Okay, that makes sense.”
“But perhaps the most important thing is that once they get planted, they don’t get moved. They stay put.”
“What difference does that make?”
The old man smiled. “Well, if I keep moving them around, I’d disturb the process of them taking root and getting the consistent nutrients they need. If they’re constantly re-planted, they’d always be starting over, always going back to square one. Their best chance, to reach their greatest potential, is to bloom in the place where they were planted.”
“But what if that spot isn’t working for them?”
“I’ll admit there have been times when I did move a plant or two but that’s been very rare. By and large, even if at first a plant isn’t doing as well as I’d like, it’s best to deal with it where I planted it than to try and re-plant it someplace else.”
“So even if the plant is struggling a bit, it’s still best to …”
As she paused, the old man filled in quickly, “… to keep it where it was planted. Exactly!”
The little girl smiled at her grandfather. It was clear how special he was to her. She listened intently as he continued.
“That’s one of those lessons the flowers teach us. All too often, we jump from one situation to another, from one relationship to another, even from this church to another. I know problems are real and sometimes a move is needed. But life has taught me that the best chances for the best outcomes exist when we stay put and work things out and grow through the difficult times we happen to be in.”
With a smile and a wink, she interjected, “Almost seems like stability is the best plant food … and the best people food too.”
“You’re a very wise little lady, aren’t you?”
“It’s the company I keep, Grandpa!”
“Oh, before I forget, here’s your dollar!”
“YAY! Thanks Grandpa!”
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