Sometimes the lesson you need to learn is right at home but you have spent a lifetime avoiding it.
And you have suffered much totally unnecessary misery as a result.
To give you some background, I do not like gardening.
I do like beautiful gardens with colorful flowers with butterflies flitting to and fro but they do not make my heart soar.
And I emphatically do not like planting and weeding and watering and fertilizing and all the stuff you have to do to create a beautiful garden.
My wife, on the other hand, LOVES gardening. Which is fine by me. But what is NOT fine is the way in which she tries to rope me in to ‘help’ her in the misguided hope that I will start liking it.
Here is a portion of our backyard and I love reading in it.
She also grows flowers in pots, many pots. Here are some of them:
She had to go away for three days last week and strictly enjoined me to water the plants in the pot.
The automatic sprinklers took care of the rest of the flora.
The temperature soared into the nineties on all three days and I completely forgot my promise on the first day.
I tried to make it up by double dousing them in water for the next two days.
When my wife Meena returned she was really upset and laced into me.
“You just poured water on them,” she accused me.
I thought that was exactly what I was supposed to do and said so.
“No, no, no!” she protested and she was almost in tears.
“The flowers are delicate. Look how many you killed by subjecting them to a heavy stream of water.”
She explained further – the plants were babies and needed to be watered with love, with a gentle trickle to the roots and not a barrage from the top.
Observing her, that is exactly what she did. The love with which she pruned and watered and weeded was evident. I just never noticed it.
She was correct. There was no love in my action. I poured water on the pots with resentment at what I considered a chore. There were other things I would rather have been doing. And so, until she pointed it out with some vigor, I did not even notice that I was harming the life forms that I was supposed to be nourishing.
And then I remembered the quote from Gibran that had impressed me so much I put it in the syllabus for my program:
And all work is empty save when there is love;
And when you work with love you bind yourself to yourself, and to one another, and to God.
And what is it to work with love?
It is to weave the cloth with threads drawn from your heart, even as if your beloved were to wear that cloth.
It is to build a house with affection, even as if your beloved were to dwell in that house.
It is to sow seeds with tenderness and reap the harvest with joy, even as if your beloved were to eat the fruit.
It is to charge all things you fashion with a breath of your own spirit,
And to know that all the blessed dead are standing about you and watching.
Often have I heard you say, as if speaking in sleep, “he who works in marble, and finds the shape of his own soul in the stone, is nobler than he who ploughs the soil.
And he who seizes the rainbow to lay it on a cloth in the likeness of man, is more than he who makes the sandals for our feet.”
But I say, not in sleep but in the over-wakefulness of noontide, that the wind speaks not more sweetly to the giant oaks than to the least of all the blades of grass;
And he alone is great who turns the voice of the wind into a song made sweeter by his own loving.
Work is love made visible.
We race around desperately seeking work that we love and a career we can be passionate about. And we totally forget to put love into what we are doing as we seek these pastures we think are greener.
It is perfectly OK to seek betterment – in finances, in career prospects, in greater satisfaction.
But do so while you are pouring love into what you are doing now.
Putting love into what you do is better than searching for what you love.
And, who knows, if you do this sincerely you may find that your perfect station is right where you are now.
So, I will endeavor to water with care and feeling. Even with love