As you know, I’m working in the garden. Observing birth and death, but mainly just weeding the last few days… Which led to the appalling discovery that I can’t see well enough to weed properly without my “reading” glasses. Might need to get some prescription sunglasses made up for just that purpose…
Anyway, I found a pansy growing in the path. “Not so amazing” I hear you think, “I’ve got loads of them”. The thing is that I haven’t planted any in this garden. That little plant has grown from a seed that randomly blew into my garden. I don’t know how long ago, nor how long it has been waiting for the perfect opportunity to germinate. I don’t even know how long it has been growing, I only noticed it when I checked the mailbox.
It can’t be a try, try and try again situation because if it was, there would be no pansy – it would have died on the first try. It’s just an amazing convergence of events – right place, right time, right circumstances.
So much of life is like that; a stranger offers you a green bean at a party and suddenly you’ve met the person who you will spend the rest of your life with. Another stranger asks you what time the bus is due; you start a conversation and get a recommendation for the best restaurant ever. You go to the restaurant with your green bean partner and you run into your childhood nemesis discovering that they are just another mortal same as you, but maybe you even like them now.
I suppose all of life is a bit like that. There have been a number of occasions when in the face of some tragedy, I suddenly discovered that everything I had ever been through had brought me to that place with all the knowledge and skills to effectively deal with them.
Having decided to take a photo of the amazingly unlikely pansy for this post, I discovered that it is gone. Now I wish I had spent more time with it, enjoying its sunny yellow and purple face. Just revelling in the unlikeliness of it all – a bright spot in the midst of all the ugly weeds that need removing.
And isn’t that just like life too? We don’t take the time to enjoy the people we know or to nurture those friendships. Too often, they are taken away from us too soon, and some of them we could have saved and deepened and made more rewarding if we had just focussed on them instead of the tv, internet, or whatever. If I had made an effort with the pansy (that live for such a short time anyway) it might still be there, or I could have moved it somewhere safer.
Not that all friendships can be saved, or are in fact worth saving. Plants might endure outside their best conditions, but they don’t flourish. As we discussed, friendships need to be nurtured by both parties to ensure the best conditions, but as people grow and change, friendships that once blossomed might find themselves in stony ground. That’s okay too, sometimes we have to let people go so that we can nurture ourselves, and sometimes they need to leave to make space for others to arrive. Just like replacing our clothes when we grow out of them.
So in the end, life, death and all the bits in-between are equally unlikely. Eric Idle explains it so much better in the Galaxy Song from “The Meaning of Life”. (This will open and start playing immediately)
How do you feel about that? Do you let people come and go, or do you hold them tight and try not to lose them. Does it make sense that sometimes they might have to leave you behind, or that you have to leave them? Or is that something you just can’t countenance?