I thought I knew what I wanted from life. From an early age I carefully defined my path, outlining my next steps with meticulous detail. Marriage by 30, children by 30, a bestseller by 30, to name a few. Everything had to be accomplished before that milestone age so that I could relax and take it easy as if to think God would finally be done with me and I could go on vacation. Silly thinking.
I achieved none of those early goals by 30 and some I know I will never achieve. In fact, my journey took me many places I never intended or expected. Some of the moments have been splendid, some very painful, but each seemed to lead to the other. It has been a life not imagined. In some respects, it has been a life even better than the one I dreamt.
I often think one starts a garden in the same way. You lay out your plans, but as you start to plant you begin to see a different vision. Sometimes it resembles your initial dream and sometimes it doesn’t. Regardless, it begins to reveal not only what you know but also what you are willing to know in spite of yourself.
I am by no means perfect but in my perfect dream my garden is. I see vivid color and rich foliage in an idyllic setting made warm by the sun with the sound of a running stream and birds scurrying about. There are no weeds or dog debris on the journey. It is a garden where I walk peacefully and happily along paths abundant in bloom and fragrance, immune from the less desirable aspects of existence.
It is a tall order and one that I fail at frequently because I forget the beauty that exists in the inconsistencies of nature. The weeds come up and the blooms fall and sometimes I must pull a plant from the earth no matter how much I want it to succeed. I see cycles in the ample display — how the loss of one bloom leads to the birth of the other, or how the weed calls attention to the beauty of the rose. Without contrasts I don’t think we ever really know how lucky we are.
How perfect, really.