Monday, February 16, 2015

Making Room for the Unknown

“I’m choosing happiness over suffering, I know I am. I’m making space for the unknown future to fill up my life with yet-to-come surprises.”
Elizabeth Gilbert

The above quote came to me one day as I was restlessly flipping through Facebook looking for something to inspire me to some sort of productivity. It jumped off the screen and caught me squarely between the eyes. So, of course, I had to find a gardening analogy to fit the quote.

As I have been sitting here beneath several feet of snow that seems to keep replenishing itself the minute so much as an inch melts, I have been warding off the winter blues by making plans for my brand spanking new garden. One of the things that I have to take into consideration when laying this plan out on paper is to remember to leave room for the unknown. What I mean by this is that since this is my first year gardening in this spot, I have no way of knowing how well some plants will do as opposed to others, which ones will pretty much fill the space where they’re planted and which ones will take over way more room than I had anticipated. Sometimes that is a good thing, and sometimes it overtakes other plants and chokes them out. Then there is the drainage and runoff of the piece of ground I’m working with which will affect whether the plants get enough water or hold too much water and create root rot.  As much time as we put into gardening, in the end it is really nothing more than a crap shoot, having faith that what is supposed to grow will grow, and what is not, won’t, and along the way knowing that surprises await us that we could never have imagined. Like the time I once pulled up some well-established grass in order to dig a new garden bed only to discover a beautiful vine that had been struggling to come up through the sod where it had been seeded over by a previous gardener.

No matter how well we think we have planned our lives, we always need to leave room for the unknown. How dull life would be if we didn’t allow room in our lives for surprises, those unexpected occurrences that tap us on the head and remind us that the magic is in the unknown, the unexpected. Instead of weighing ourselves down with schedules and to-do lists, or worrying about what “might” happen, why not leave a nice, big space for the unknown. It is never too late to incorporate a little adventure into our lives, a little spark of creativity and childlike belief. Even if the unexpected turns out to be something that threatens to overgrow your space and choke your roots, you can always pull it out and make space for something new. That’s how you choose happiness over suffering, by making space for the unexpected, yet-to-come surprises in our lives.

So what are you going to choose?

And so it is.