Living Expectantly Part 4: How To Find Beauty In the Unexpected
By Beth Demme
This month on the blog we’ve looked at what happens when life isn’t quite what we expected. How can we live loved when we don’t live up to our own expectations or life is harder than it should be? Does God think I’m a failure? Is it okay to complain about my life?
Today as we close out this series, I’d like to share a very short story with you.
A woman decided to plant a garden. She surveyed her yard and found a spot that seemed just right. It was level enough to make planting easy. It was large enough to make room for variety, but not so big she couldn’t manage it herself. It was sunny enough without being over-exposed.
The woman prepared the soil and planted the seeds. She tended her garden with love and attention, pleased with the progress of budding plants and soon-to-be-blooming flowers.
One day as she walked the rows, she noticed a new bloom. She walked over to it, drawn in by its vibrant pink color.
The flower she found waiting there was the most beautiful bloom she had ever seen, not only in her own garden but in any garden. She thought back to the books she had read and the gardens she had visited. Her mental catalog came up empty. She had no idea how to categorize this beautiful bloom popping up in her garden.
It wasn’t at all what she expected, but she couldn’t deny its beauty.
She had a decision to make. She could remove the unexpected beauty (to leave room for all the things she planned for and planted), she could tear out some of what she had planted (to make room around the beautiful bloom), or she could let the two grow together and appreciate the garden for what it was becoming.
My life is like this garden.
In high school (while my friends were working fast food) I worked in a lovely flower shop. I loved all the flowers and, on occasion, I even put a few bouquets together. Even though I love flowers, I’ve never been one to garden. (I have an aversion to sweat, dirt, bugs, and manual labor.)
Still, I think my life is like the garden in this story.
Some of the most beautiful blooms in my garden aren’t things I planted, rather, they seem to grow on their own.
What if I limited my garden to only the expected? That would mean molding my children, my marriage, my work, and my God into the form I have prescribed for them all.
No thank you. I’m exhausted just thinking about that sentence.
I think it’s better (and less exhausting) to wander the garden of life enjoying the beauty that’s growing there. Some of it blooms because of my planning and planting, but some of it is completely unexpected. Some of it is easy to explain, but some of it (including the most beautiful moments) defies categorization.
Like the gardener, I need to release my expectations and embrace my reality.
What about you? What’s growing in your garden? Does it bother you that some of it grows unexpectedly? Do you wish you could more easily predict/expect/control the beauty? Tell me about it in the comments, on Facebook, Twitter, or via e-mail.
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