Welcome to Grace Notes, the "column" section of Grace's Garden. Here's where inspiration, thoughts, affirmation, a little fun, and lots of other good things will flow like a calming fountain, or shine like the morning sun. Periodically, new columns will be featured on this page, and old ones will be archived, so do please keep checking back!
One of the things I love so much about gardens is the great variety they offer. Their living, growing denizens seem to flow together and flourish together, all colors, all varieties, all sizes... all of them living side by side, oblivious to each other's differences.
Indeed, they can thrive on those differences. I've heard many a story of different plants actually helping each other to do well, since each one can have its own unique requirements for nutrients it needs to draw from the soil. And any farmer can tell you that you can't grow the same crops in the same field year after year. Diversity is key.
I think people could learn a lot from plants. And in many ways, thankfully, people have come quite a long way in that department. Now, Grace's Garden usually shies away from this sort of subject, but we would be rather remiss in our celebration of the ideal plane were we to neglect such a matter as presses upon this Gardener's heart. Diversity. Acceptance. Love. True, accepting, unconditional love. Regardless of race, creed, national origin, belief, color, handicap, or size.
Now there's one you don't usually see on the standard anti-discrimination statements. But it's important, for a person's size is as much a part of how he or she is perceived as is any other distinguishing characteristic about that person. And very often it colors how that person may feel about themselves, although it does not define who they are in their heart or in their soul. Unfortunately, we often forget that just because a person doesn't look like a television actress, model, or professional athlete, that doesn't mean they're any less a human being, with any less a heart, soul, or feelings, to be either nurtured or broken. Remember, much of what we see in the media is the result of much work by makeup artists, photo retouchers, film editors, and a host of other contributors. Mrs. X down the street doesn't have a personal trainer or her own makeup artist. Instead, she may have three kids and a very limited budget. Or she may have arthritis and can't walk so well anymore. Or she may be too tired from working and commuting to go to the gym. Or any number of other things we may know nothing about. But she still FEELS....
Plants don't avoid each other, dislike each other, hurt each other, discriminate against each, or judge each other on the basis of color, size, variety, or other superficial factors. They grow and flourish together, creating a wondrous mix that delights the eye and soothes the senses. Together they wave in the breezes and turn their faces to the sun. Together they weather the rains and the wind, comforting one another in the darkness with their presence. Together they live. They draw the same life from the soil and from the skies. They share a common bond in their need to live and thrive.
As should we all.
So, the next time you see a human being, whether they be friend or stranger, remember -- whoever they are, however they look, they all have the same feelings, the same needs, the same fears, hopes, joys, sorrows, heartaches, desires that you have. They may be hurting. They may be confused or at a crossroads. Their heart may be burdened or they may be ill or worried about a loved one. Before we say anything that may hurt someone, before we cast a disdainful eye, we MUST consider that we may not know the whole story. We must consider what is sunshine and what is rain to each individual "plant" we meet in the garden of life. It is up to each of us to nurture life in all its forms. For remember -- each of us has the power to be a gardener. Each of us has the power to encourage life to thrive and flourish.
How does YOUR garden grow?
For beauty lives with virtue.
--William Shakespeare, The Two Gentlemen of Verona; Act IV, scene ii.
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