In the parking lot out in front of my work are these small maple trees that I have been admiring for some time now. I’m not sure of their type, other than they appear to be maples of some variety. For months now, I have been enjoying their beauty and consistently reminding myself that I need to see if I can figure out what they are. I think one or two would add to the atmosphere we are trying to create in our back yard. A peaceful area to go relax, sort of orient meets forest if you will – at least that is the vision.
As I walked out to my car a few days back, I noticed some seeds coming along quite nicely. I actually saw that one had even “ripened” (wrong term I’m sure, but you get the picture). I picked it off the ground, kind of excited at the prospect of growing one. Smiling as I drove off with the little seed sitting carefully on the passenger seat beside me, I started day dreaming of where we could put it, and what it would look like.
I started thinking about how long it would take to get a sapling from this little seed, and wither the seed would sprout at all. With all these thoughts swirling in my head, it made me realize some similarities between my anticipated expectations for this little seed, and the expectations we have as parents for our own children. Dreams of what they will look like, what profession they’ll take on, what traits we’d like them to inherit as well as what ones we want to prevent.
I know that my life hasn’t exactly resulted the way that my parents had likely dreamed and anticipated back when I was a new arrival. My path did not end up going as they planned, and didn’t end up fulfilling many of those original “thought of desires” they had pertaining to what I would do, or what I would accomplish, or who I would be. Yet, really its ok. Even though this is all true, we’ve all survived the detour and I’m comfortable enough to not regard myself as a failure. I recognize I’m just a work in progress, just like everyone else and no one necessarily will ever completely match up to another’s expectations.
Maybe their intended path would have been better for me in their eyes, but here along my own journey I have come across wonderful people and been witness to some pretty amazing blessings that would not have fit with their initial intended plan for me. Results that never would have been initially expected at a situation’s first glance. It is amazing how often percieved downfalls have lead to healthier situations, healthier attitudes and understandings. For that reason I am thankful – although sometimes wistfully, that this life is colorful with its twists and turns that are thrown our way, and that my God works in mysterious ways. Life goes on, truth be told, laurels wilt over time and living this life is a constant work in progress. Its not really about an achievement that is pinnacle, but rather a the understanding acquired throughout your journey.
I do not have it all figured out. I do not have a complete picture of how things should be. All I have is the truth that each day is a new opportunity to work towards something brighter, which isn’t always located at the end of the path someone else has prepared before us. Its rarely the path of least resistance that helps us grow stronger, nor serves to enlighten our souls. It is only through trials that we are forced to make leaps and bounds.
Early on I had made a personal decision when making expectations of my own children. I decided to simplify and limit the ones that I would push at them, and disregard those that are unrealistic to hold. To recognize that they won’t always “grow” or “lean” the way I think that they should, but to love them anyway, because its very possible there is something bigger out there that I don’t understand. Simply, my vow to them is to do my part in nurturing them, encouraging them, giving them the support they need to feel comfortable with themselves while they discover this world and make their own way. To try and convey what I’ve learned in order to protect them from missteps, but to recognize that I cannot, and honestly should not shield them from every bump and bruise, because it is through experience that we humans learn the most.
I think its important to remember that our children aren’t here to fulfill our dreams, or for us to gain a second chance to live vicariously through them as they accomplish things we didn’t find time, or have the opportunity to do. Our kids have their own purpose, a unique and special reason for being here. Weither you believe there is a divine hand in guiding our way or not, the fact still remains that their lives are theirs to have and ultimately a compilation of their own experiences and choices, not ours.
I planted the little seed, Hopefully we will see something come from it, but if I don’t, its because that space will be needed for something else that I don’t yet know, and that is ok too.