My Mom was a wise and wonderful woman. She had a saying for every situation. Whether you call them maxims, aphorisms, mottos, mantras, epithets, or proverbs, my Mom loved these pithy little adages. Some were folksy ways of remembering details
A pint’s a pound the world around.
Rain before seven, stop before eleven.
Thunder in the spring, freeze everything. Thunder in the fall, won’t freeze at all.
Red at night, sailors delight. Red in the morning, sailors take warning.
If she heard me being unkind or judgmental, my Mother would surely warn me that I had better “Take your own hide to market.” If I was pouting, she would let me know that a crow would be along “to perch on that lip.” And if I wanted revenge I could count on my Mom to make sure I didn’t “cut off my nose to spite my face.”
One motto that my Mother always tried to instill in her children was that we should “Bloom where you are planted.” I have had a hard time with this for most of my life. I am always dreaming of the next step in life – the next check point on my life’s list – the next place I want to go. It was important to my Mom that I learn to “blossom” at each stage and place in my life. All my life, I have had a long list of things that will make me happy – I’ll be happy when I graduate, when I’m married, when we buy a house, when I have a baby ( or another baby), when we move, when I get a job, when….. My Mom met each of these statements with her own – Bloom where you are planted. It took me a long time to get it. It has taken me until my vision problems began to accelerate to understand this saying – to really understand it in my heart.
I have to be happy where I am. I have to become my best self right here and right now. It is important that I stop looking ahead and longing for change. This is my life right now. If I don’t learn to appreciate it and love it right now, I will never appreciate it and love it at any time. There will always be something else to long for, some “next step” to reach for. But reaching the next step will not, in the end, make me any happier unless I can “bloom” right here “where I am planted.” Surprisingly, this vision disability has taught me to bloom. Once my future became uncertain, I started to build a better present, to appreciate where I am and what I have. It’s not that I have some sense of just being satisfied with the status quo. It’s more like I have embraced my life, like I have learned to love my life. I still have goals, but I am no longer deluding myself that reaching these goals will make me happier or more complete than I am right now.
My Mom was right. Bloom where you are planted. To me, this means that I still have to work on enriching the soil I am in. I still have to seek out life-giving water. I still have to stretch myself toward the sunlight. But it also means that I can blossom right here and now. I don’t have to wait until conditions are perfect. I can be peaceful and happy – even though I am not perfect, even though I am losing my vision, even though I have not met my life goals. I can blossom and bear good fruit.