Monday, March 20, 2017

Growing Wisdom

Perennial - Lasting for an indefinitely long time; persistent; enduring; regularly repeated or renewed

I discovered a passion for gardening late in life, in my late 40s and early 50s. I had always loved being outside in nature, communing with the birds and squirrels, helping my mother pick roses and lilacs from the yard and arranging them in vases, and marveling at how no matter what happened during the course of the year, from frigid winters to baking summers, these beautiful flowers always came back.

The best piece of gardening advice that I ever received was to make perennials the backbone of the garden, adding annuals, shrubs and foliage for variety and change. Perennials, I was told, were enduring, just like their advice. Gardening wisdom comes from years and years of trial and error, along with back-breaking and sometimes heart-breaking work. It isn't something that you can grow over night. You have to plant the seeds and see what comes back and what doesn't. You have to be persistent if you want to be renewed.

Wisdom is also something that has to grow over the years through trial and error, sunshine as well a storms, and lots and lots of experience. Remember when we heard our parents say things like: "Wait until you grow up and then you'll understand," or, "wait until you have children of your own and then you'll know what I'm talking about." And wait we did, often not patiently, but in the end that was the only way to see what worked and what didn't, what was true for us and what wasn't, and what endured. With persistence and the ability to tear out what wasn't growing and replace it with those things that would endure, we grew in wisdom and, just like the garden, we were regularly renewed.

One piece of wisdom that has recently blossomed in my wisdom garden is that there are things I have come to understand about my life that I could not possibility have understood or accepted until I had moved into my Third Age, my wisdom years. I had to keep walking up and down the paths, planting and pulling weeds, until the pattern of my life emerged and I saw the Big Picture. Do I wish I had known what I know now when I was younger? Sure. Would I have understood it the way that I do now? Not likely. I had to live it, and live it I did.

As our 3 feet of snow starts to melt, I say a little prayer each morning to those beautiful perennials that lay sleeping underneath it all, asking them to hold on just a little longer and rely on their inner wisdom to tell them when to push through to the top. That's how they endure, by knowing when it's time to be who they are meant to be. I think that's true for all of us, don't you?

And so it is.