For the first time in years, I have a backyard.
In the spring, I cleared all the debris and made plans: hammock, string lights, and a vegetable garden. I did all kinds of research to find the best planting containers, the ideal crops for my climate, the right soil to use, and the best times to plant each crop. I got all my necessary supplies and told all my friends of my intentions.
I planned all kinds of posts for this site to document my progress, my harvests, and yummy recipes created with my produce.
I marked the planting dates in my calendar…and when the time came, I put seeds in dirt.
It felt meaningful to plant seeds and care for them. Every day after work I went out to the yard, anxiously waiting for something to sprout.
And then…seemingly overnight the planters went from dirt to luscious greenery.
I had this overwhelming sense of accomplishment as the plants grew!
The excitement was short-lived.
We had flooding rains for weeks followed by extreme heat.
In the end, none of my plants produced any vegetables.
I was frustrated. The venture failed.
But did it really fail? I learned things in the process. I have more knowledge about planting and soil conditions than I did last year. I know that I’m capable of growing things- plants did sprout- I just have a couple adjustments to make. I know what to improve next time.
The whole process seemed like a lesson for certain aspects of my life: So many seeds planted, so much potential – yet nothing grew.
I’d grown weary of getting my hopes up, sharing the anticipation with others and then having to share the let-down. Mourning dreams is a grisly business.
But every once in awhile, I’d take a look around and notice a few things. My dreams may not materialize in the manner I expect, but the essence of what I hoped for shows up in various ways – A dream for a family manifests itself, for now, as a solid community of trusted friends who share in my journey. A dream for a fulfilling career manifests itself, not in a new job, but in role changes and support from my supervisors.
The spirit of Advent reminds us that the things we hope for, the things we wait for, may arrive in ways that are wholly surprising.
What’s caught you pleasantly off-guard lately?