E very spring I get excited about planting flowers in my outdoor clay pots. Winter is a long season of no flowers and I really miss them during that long cold season of dull colors. So, each spring I visit my local nurseries and hardware stores and drool over all the lovely brightly colored flowers that will go into my clay pots.[pullquote]I have sadly struggled with this fact for many years, yet each spring I eagerly plant my little flowers in their respective pots then cross my fingers and hope and pray that they make it through the season[/pullquote]Living in Arizona with its hard rocky ground makes it difficult for an inexperienced gardener like me to plant in anything but clay pots where the soil is rich and guaranteed to bring me some successful planting. Let me add here that I don’t have a green thumb. I have sadly struggled with this fact for many years, yet each spring I eagerly plant my little flowers in their respective pots then cross my fingers and hope and pray that they make it through the season. I have been prone to over water them, giving too much care sometimes, but my biggest issue has been planting the appropriate flowers for the appropriate conditions. It took me a few years, I’m embarrassed to say, to finally ask the guy at the nursery what flowers do best in the shade and what do best in the sun. I don’t know why this took me so long to realize, but it did! When I finally figured this very important detail out, my flowers, which did well in the shade under my backyard trees, would thrive for the entire summer season; sometimes well into the fall. This completely energized me to buy even more flowers and pots with each following year. Now I have a wonderful selection of flowering pots in both my back and front yard. It brings me great joy each day as I water and tenderly care for them. So, you can see why each spring I get excited when the first flowers begin to show up at my local nurseries and hardware stores.
On one particularly beautiful spring day I was driving down our main street and thought I would take a glance at the outdoor garden department of our local Lumbermans. As I drove by, I noticed the flowers looked especially full and colorful, so I decided I would stop by the next day and buy a few. That night at dinner I told my husband that I saw some beautiful flowers at Lumbermans that day and that I wanted to get some for the yard the next day. He looked at me kind of funny and said, “Lumbermans burned down a week ago.” I was shocked and told him no, it couldn’t have because I just saw all the beautiful flowers in the garden department as I drove by. He told me that the garden department was the only thing that had not burned. The rest of the building was destroyed; completely burned to the ground.
Now, I’m a great observer of things and hardly miss seeing anything so this deeply disturbed me that I might have missed an entire burned down building. So, to comfort myself I thought maybe he was slightly mistaken and that the building might still be there, just the inside had burned. He reassured me the building was gone.
The next day, eager to see what I might have missed, I again drove past Lumbermans to see the damage. The building looked like a bomb had hit it! It was completely gutted and the only thing left was the garden department with all of its beautiful flowers hanging nicely from their hooks and resting peacefully on their shelves. I was amazed that the only thing I had seen the day before were the flowers. My mind was so focused on the beauty that I didn’t see the destruction. I had to laugh at myself and my ability to see only what I wanted to see. Beauty was where my focus was, so beauty is the only thing I saw. It’s been a great metaphor for my life and I learned a lot more about myself that day.
We all do this, see only what we want to see, but how often do we choose to see ONLY the beauty?