Blog,  Personal Story

The Patience in Slow Growth

I’m pretty sure I know why people like to buy plants from nurseries. When you buy a flower from a nursery, it’s either already bloomed or just about to bloom. You can see the little buds just ready to burst open a few days after you get them home and in the ground. Or if you pick up a plant, like a palm it’s already full of beautiful fronds. It’s instant gratification when you plant these flowers or plants in your landscape. Those bright yellow marigolds spruce up your yard in minutes.

Seeds are cheaper and come in a plethora of varieties and colors (much more than the nursery offers), but they require a serious amount of patience and nurturing. Nurturing that the potted plant from the nursery doesn’t need. You need to prepare the soil for your little seeds, water it and tend to it, sometimes for months before you get any real results in the form of flowers.

My oldest daughter brought back a small terracotta pot full of dirt from her grandmother’s house when she stayed with her this past June. She had decorated the little pot with her name and stickers, and planted a Zinnia seed in the dirt. It was an activity from Vacation Bible school, and when she brought it home there was nothing but dirt. Honestly, I didn’t hold out much hope for it to sprout, but lo and behold a few days later it did. It started growing in the kitchen window, and eventually my Mother helped her plant it in the back yard. There’s finally buds on it…in October. Yes, I know that’s really not that shocking, seeds take a lot of time, but when you’re used to instant gratification, it’s hard to fathom it took almost four months for that little seed to become a flower.

I’ve quickly realized that starting a farm from scratch is more like pouring some dirt into a terracotta pot, planting a seed and watering it as opposed to the quick method. I know, I know, that’s a pretty obvious observation. However, no matter how hard you try, you really can’t fathom the amount of time and patience it requires to build from scratch.

I can so clearly see in my mind the outcome of our plans. I can also see where we are now without much imagination. Those are two totally different pictures, but I’m okay with them both. It’s the middle that I’m having the difficulty in facing.

When you first plant that flower seed, you’re so excited about that flower you know (or hope) is going to appear. Your mind and heart are so full of all the possibilities. Even if you aren’t sure what color the flower you planted will turn out to be, you can see it and you anticipate it. But those long months in between, when the growth is almost imperceptible is when you get restless. You feel like the plant should be growing faster and bigger. It takes so long for that little seedling to grow, that you eventually quit checking on it, other than to water it. The excitement and anticipation are gone.

Then one day you step out and this big beautiful bloom of color has unfurled and all that patient waiting, that patient growth comes to life. The waiting already starts to feel like a distant memory as you admire the fruit of your work.

We’re somewhere in the middle when it comes to the farm, and it’s hard to comprehend when we’ll finally see the result. But my daughter’s little zinnia gives me so much hope for what’s to come.

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