Living in a rural community brings about a lot of opportunity to see nature up close. One of my greatest joys is being able to ride for miles along country roads and enjoy the scenery; hay bales dotting the fields, baby deer frolicking along behind their mother, squirrels darting back and forth gathering their winter harvest and wild flowers sprinkled along the edge of the road. Wild flowers always intrigue me because they just happen to pop up quite often in rather unusual places. Not being much of a gardener and not having all of the answers as to how and why these random plantings take place I find myself enjoying the beauty and wondering what it was that carried those seeds to their particular plot of ground.
As I drove along this weekend alone in my car I noticed quite a few patches of “black eyed susans” dusting the edge of the road and decorating the fields. With their bright yellow petals and dark center it’s as if these hearty flowers are nature’s way of letting us know that fall is right around the corner; much like the delicate clumps of daffodils that show up to announce that spring has arrived.
Allowing my mind to drift a bit I think about the “planter” of the seeds. Doubting that someone randomly tossed seeds along the road and in patches in the farm fields on purpose, I convince myself that the original seeds were planted purposely and that a stronger force, possibly the wind, carried the newly generated seeds at the end of the season off in various directions depositing bits of beauty to be enjoyed by passersby in the future. It’s similar to the “seeds” we plant during the seasons of our lives.
Our children are quite possibly one of the greatest “seeds” we will ever plant. When we become parents we strive not only to teach our children basic life skills but nurture their spirits as well. Children learn by example meaning that in essence our children will mimic our behaviors; the good and the not so good. As parents we should strive to live our lives as an example for our children for our children are the seeds and we must water them with love, kindness, respect, appropriate discipline and encouragement so that they like seeds in the wind will plant themselves as adults to continue blooming and planting seeds of their own.
Robert Louis Stevenson once said “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” What exactly does that mean and how does it relate to everyday life? I believe that Stevenson was referring to living a life of service to others instead of ourselves and that quite often we may not see the results but that doesn’t mean our deeds are done in vain. Recently I attended a church conference where a pastor spoke on the idea of planting seeds. She shared that on one particular Sunday morning a seasoned pastor had attended a worship service and afterward she asked him to share his thoughts and if he liked her message. His answer surprised her “I don’t know yet” he said. Pondering his rather odd answer she realized that it is not the initial reaction to what we do rather the long term affects. We may never know the impact we may have on someone’s life; we may never know how our actions affect those who are watching from the sidelines.
A friend shared a recent story of California math teacher Jim O’Connor. O’Connor, notorious for being strict in the classroom at an all-boys Catholic prep school has been rocking sick babies at the local hospital for more than 20 years. His tough exterior in the classroom, he believes is necessary not only to keep order but to instill responsibility and a strong work ethic in his students. His service to the hospital, he hopes will show others that while it’s likely he may never see most of those babies after they leave, and will get involved. Jim O’Connor is living a life of service to others and by doing so is planting seeds that hopefully will grow and scatter along the road of life making a difference to others as well as encourage others to plant their own seeds.
I encourage you to plant seeds in the world around you and when your season is over I believe that like the black eyed susans scattered along the road the beauty of your seeds will be revealed. It doesn’t matter what you do it matters that you do it. United Methodist pastor Steve Goodier writes “When you assess your own life, consider it with the eye of a gardener. Underneath the surface lies rich, fertile soil waiting to nurture the seeds you sow. even more than you can imagine will grow there if given a chance.” Happy planting….
I am proud to introduce a new column to Madame Deals! I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!