Recently I shared this story with a good friend of mine and it resonated around the lives of several of my friend’s lives right now, so I thought I would share it on here, partly to possibly help others and partly to remind myself where I was several years ago!
My mother’s birthday was always a special occasion and every year my ex-boyfriend and I would do something for her; typically staying overnight in a casino near Louisville, her choice for a birthday adventure. On the day of her last birthday, my ex and I got into a horrible fight just minutes before going to my mom’s house. It’s important to understand that at this point in my life, I was frustrated with several different levels of my life including my relationship, my job and the overall quality of my life.
After reaching my mother’s house, my ex decided he was not going to spend the day with us, due to our fight, so my mom and I headed off to go shopping at the outlet mall and then head down to the casino to spend the day gambling and drinking fountain cokes. I think if you live in Indiana it’s a right of passage, once you reach 60, to spend several weekends a year, sitting at a slot machine, drinking cokes and smoking cigarettes, praying for a big win. Although my mom prided herself in being a woman who would never fit this definition, secretly, she enjoyed sitting there watching cherries come up instead of three sevens, hoping to hit a few thousand. Instead, she’d pull a ticket out for $30 stating that she would buy us breakfast the next morning.
Needless to say, my mother, who loved my ex dearly, didn’t understand why we were fighting and why he didn’t want to come with us. I tried to explain to her that I was frustrated with several aspects of my life and that he and I had been arguing a lot recently and I had been thinking seriously if I was in a healthy relationship. I explained that I needed passion and desire in my life and that maybe we had let the problems take over the good parts of the relationship and it was long over due for us to go our separate ways. I explained that, although I loved him dearly, I thought maybe we each deserved something better in our lives.
Now, you would have had to know my mother, who had an opinion on every topic from oriental literature to Trip to Bountiful being the greatest movie next to To Kill a Mockingbird. She rarely knew silence and often, she drove people crazy with her incessant talk; a trait I believe she passed down to me. When, on rare occasions, she sat in silence, it was almost as if you could feel her mind ticking, profound wisdom about to pass from her lips. And then it came…almost like a whisper.
“Be very careful. Weeds grow fast in a garden.” She said.
And I sat there, not entirely sure what she meant by this statement.
“Our lives are like beautiful gardens which need watering and special care. If you aren’t careful, and you let the weeds of negativity begin to take over; all you see is a garden of dandelions. And sometimes, you start convincing yourself the dandelions are a more beautiful sight than the garden itself.”
And that, my dear friends, is exactly what happened in my life. And looking back, I don’t regret it. No, I’m a believer that everything that happens in life happens for a reason. That we are on some great journey with several guides and teachers along the way. But I do believe that we can pick the weeds so we careful to make sure and see the beauty we have in our lives. And maybe at the time, I just wanted a different garden. And that’s exactly what I got.
But is that for everyone? I love my life now, but if at the time I had been more careful, I think I could have saved some of myself and repaired that garden. I don’t think that’s what was supposed to happen, but for anyone whose unsure…your garden can be saved…just make sure you get out there and pick the weeds.
Luckily, I came out on the other side, tangled in a new, amazingly beautiful garden of lilies and daisies, spinning and spinning in the sunshine. But all around me, I see my friends tangled up in weeds, unable to break free and I wonder, if maybe they started picking away, one by one, they might have the beauty I enjoy every day…
But be careful. Because if all you see is the weeds, you miss out on the beauty that may already exist. And that would be a shame…
Because after all…we’re on borrowed time as it is…