I've Known The Garden

Updated: Jan 28

At this point in my life, I can say that I’m having a hard time. One aspect of it is driving me up the wall and causing all kinds of issues with my kids and their mother. The specifics of that situation aren’t as important as what happened when I let people know about it. I had offers for almost every type of help I could imagine that would be useful to me from friends and even non-friends far and wide. People I didn’t know donated to a fundraiser and even spread the news about it for me. I had a lot of support from longtime colleagues and people I consider family in my inbox, texts and making phone calls. And I’ll be honest, it’s not the first time I’ve been met with adversity and people have come through. Hell, even when I ask for assistance with moving, as many people that can will show up and it makes me feel good about the life I lead.

So a few days ago I was in a discussion with a good friend of mine about everything that’s been happening and in that conversation she said something that made me smile.

You’ve planted love in a lot of places and I’m happy it’s coming back to you.

And that’s when I realized that I had unknowingly been this gardener of goodwill for most of my life. It’s not that I’ve never noticed that I’ve been nice to people, it’s just that I’ve never heard it summed up so succinctly in order to explain why I have people to fall back on and so I never fully fall down. It’s not only being good to people, it’s planting love. I do my best to make lifelong friends and connections by being as available as I can for those that might need an ear or shoulder. I talk to everyone as an equal and I show that I want to learn from everyone. I’ve never professed to be perfect in my interactions, but I try to be good and decent at the very least.

But I also think it comes down to being vulnerable as well as respectful. Showing people that I too struggle and I’m not afraid to show it, so others will know they aren’t alone in their troubles. I respect what people go through and their level of plight because I don’t know their exact pain, but I want to be someone they can count on regardless. I could say that a thousand things led me to this point but at my core it’s always been who I am. I was picked on, I was made fun of and while I got upset about it, I just learned to deal. Then I saw that I wasn’t the only one and so I made sure to help those like me. I have one of the most diverse sets of friends that anyone could have from social and economic class, education, race, religion, you name it, they are it. But I couldn’t have them without being open to them and, I guess, planting a little piece of me inside them all.

And really, all I ever want people to know is love. My birthday is Valentine’s Day, so love is pretty much my thing and everyone should get some of it. And while I know I had been doing my best to spread it, I didn’t know I was planting it. It makes the most sense though; people will preemptively ask to help me before I even think of asking. Something I’ve given them has lasted and planted roots in them that grows and, when needed, comes to provide for me. It’s not something that I would ever take lightly or even abuse. I get embarrassed asking for help and I don’t ever want to appear needy so I’m the type that will go through a lot before people know it. I guess that’s another part of it as well. I don’t take much from this garden that I’ve planted and so when I need to draw from it, there’s so much available to me. I’m eternally grateful for that and all of those that are there for me who send back the love that I give them. But now that I’m cognizant of what to call this gift, I’ll definitely be more apt to giving that love with intention. Not to necessarily get anything back for selfish reasons, but instead, to plant that love in others who will know that they now have that love in themselves.

And with that, they can do anything that they need to get through…maybe even tending to their own garden.