The smallest seed knows that, in order to grow,
it must be dropped in the dirt, covered in darkness,
and struggle to reach the light
How do we grow into what we are meant to be?
We know that we must each walk a different path, but our journeys are as similar as they are unique: from small beginnings, we endure struggle and, eventually, prevail. The trouble comes with distinguishing between the struggles and the end. Whenever we dare to believe that we have, at last, arrived, trouble comes back to visit us, and we discover that so much struggle and reach still lie ahead.
But what if we are now— at this very minute— exactly who and what we are “meant to be”? For many, myself included, that is an uncomfortable notion. We don’t want to work for that company, or live in this city, or feel the way we feel, forever. Some of us are so far from our ideal that we don’t want to do this, be here, or feel that for one minute more than absolutely necessary. We are consumed by the need to relieve our so-called growing pains and put them behind us permanently and forever. It’s a hard way to spend your days.
But there is one small comfort that we can return to again and again: to the man, none of us know what we are growing toward. We have our plans, but at any moment our path may change so radically that nothing we have now— no matter how long, entrenched, and unchanging it seems— will mean anything in the aftermath. Perhaps it happens to us, unwillingly; perhaps we invite it, or will it into being.
Remembering that nothing lasts is a gift we can give ourselves as often as necessary. From our greatest highs to most desperate lows, this thought assures us that better is always possible, even if we cannot imagine it. This mindset also invites us to look for and treasure the beauties of our current situation— from a tiny thread of silver lining in the hardest times, to great and soaring joys in the best— because we understand that they are all equally fragile and temporary.
Any gardener knows that tiny leaves, budding flowers, and the season’s first fruits are all the more precious because they are so fleeting; the second, third, and last all recall the very first.