Don’t hunt for trouble,
but look for success.
You’ll find what you look for,
But don’t look for distress.
If you see but your shadow,
Remember, I say
The sun is still shining
But you’re in the way.
When you think about a seed, it can be rather tenacious. Buried in hardened soil, it pushes through in a burst of energy, with some benefit, hopefully, from sun and water. If that soil has been tilled with compost and other such nurturing ingredients laid forth by a gardener that journey becomes easier for the seed.
When pressed and tired and slammed by unexpected foes, both real and imagined, we can fall victim to our own negative thoughts. We despair over solutions and become frustrated that for every attempt to achieve success, we are slammed down. It’s not that we are doing things the wrong way but the circumstance we are facing seems bent on a different road despite our many attempts to the contrary.
I am reminded by wise words of a leader with whom I have had the blessing to work. We were facing a considerable organizational challenge when the economic crisis of 2007-08 took root. As I stood in the room with him, we listened as one of my very committed and capable young employees anguished over the impact this crisis had on our organization’s membership. She felt defeated by the departure of many who could no longer afford association. She folded into tears. She felt like a failure, like she hadn’t done enough, despite her tremendous talent and our own commitment to make that affiliation as easy as possible. He was sensitive to her tears and understood their birth from frustration, but he also knew that vision gets clouded if we fall to despair and our own shadows. His answer to her was simple: You can’t see solutions through tears. He wasn’t ridiculing her tears, but he was telling her and me that we have to press forward and keep a clear eye on the path of helping others.
The words that start this post came from a lovely old leather book of autographs. In it were pages of words written to a young woman who had just graduated from high school in June of 1931. Her name was Cornelia. Often referred to as Connie or Currie. She was the mother-in-law I never knew except through pictures and words. It was a time of promise and to never forget that promise however many times you are brought down.
I am reminded that in days of questioning myself that we must never forget the seeds we plant, both in the garden and in our lives. They are seeds of beauty and seeds of hope. They represent our most important dreams. We must honor them and hold true to them even if we don’t always see their promise burst through the soil in the timeframe we desire. Like Cornelia, we may get discouraged along the way. We will stumble and fall. But somewhere, somehow, we will press through that hardened soil and find our place in the sun.