Monday, January 26, 2015

late night ramblings about neil diamond and kindergarten plants.

If you've ever been to a fireworks show with me, you know that I seriously love Neil Diamond. There aren't many things in life that feel more blissful than watching colorful explosives to the sound of "we're coming to Americaaaaaa TODAY!" And everybody knows that it's appropriate to shout "ba ba ba" and "SO GOOD!" throughout the chorus of Sweet Caroline, right? Because that's almost more than appropriate.

This is not actually a blog post about Neil. (Though he may deserve one.) But Neil is relevant. Because a while ago, I was stressed out of my mind, not sure what to do, and driving past the temple when the answer to my prayers came in the mental form of "Good times never seemed so good - SOW good! SOW good!" (And that's when you know the Neil obsession is potentially pushing it a little.)

But really. Sow good was the answer. And has continued to be the answer for the last several months.

"Fear not to do good... for whatsoever ye sow that shall ye also reap; therefore, if ye sow good ye shall reap good for your reward." (Scriptural reference here.)

If you ask me, that's a seriously cool promise. So, homeboy Neil and I have been focused on sowing good for the last little while and it's been great. But recently, I've been back to feeling some anxiety about my life. And by recently and "some anxiety", I mean that I often find myself somewhere in between "it's fine" and "I'm so worried I could vomit".

And what I mean by "I'm so worried I could vomit" is that I have a tendency to focus on what I don't have in my life - those things that I hope to some day reap. Occasionally, I get so caught up in what's not there and what's not going quite like I would plan, that I get all emotionally attached to these ideas in a way that I feel like I'm not functioning normally and I can't think of anything else. I focus on what I must be doing wrong, instead of all the things that are going right.

The other day, I was having a really tough time with this and praying about it. (I say praying, but it sounded a little bit more like "whyyyyyy me?" than I usually prefer my prayers to be.) And suddenly, I gained a little perspective. Remember in kindergarten when you'd take a little dixie cup and fill it with dirt and then you'd stick a few seeds in, write your name on the cup, and place your soon-to-be plant on the window sill next to the rest of your classmates' respective dixie cups of dirt? Life is like that. We're all sowing - planting seeds with hopes of growing a flower or a vegetable or whatever our seed has the potential to be.

Sometimes in life, I'm that kindergartner that just can't handle what's happening under the dirt. The one who sneaks over while everyone else is finger painting and sticks their fingers into the dirt to see if anything is happening to the seed yet. Lesson one: seeds can't grow if you're constantly digging them up. Other times in life, I recognize that I can't dig up the seed, but I try to compensate by giving the seed EVERYTHING it needs all at once. Lesson two: seeds do need light and water and nutrients, but they also need those things in moderation and over time.

Somehow, picturing my life like a kindergarten project makes me feel a lot better about things. Ultimately, I'm learning that we have a promise: If we sow good, we reap good. With that promise comes a need to understand that reaping takes time. It takes patience and it takes trust. And there's a lot of value in sowing good and taking necessary steps (water, light, patience) in the "sowing process" and then taking a step back and letting the seed do what it's best at. There's less value in constantly trying to reap things that aren't ready to be reaped. Trying to watch a single seed grow will only keep you from experiencing all the other joys in life. Stepping away for a time allows you to see the progress without focusing in a harmful way.

I sometimes feel like my blog posts need disclaimers. Like, hey thanks for the free therapy, because I really needed to get this out in a way that other people could read it so I could finally understand it myself. But mostly what I mean is thanks for reading my blog. I think you're rad. Sow good.

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