“All sunshine makes a desert.” Arab proverb
Everyone knows someone who seems to have it all. Yet, many times we don’t really care for these people. Parents in particular seem to have a hard time these days allowing their children to suffer, do without, wait, or experience pain in any form. Ironically, their efforts to spare any discomfort during childhood backfire when the child reaches adulthood unable to cope with the realities of life, resulting in immeasurable pain. Yes, indeed the good life turns out to be pretty unpleasant in the end.
Like most farms, ours has a large pile of poop.
No, I have not just completely abandoned the topic, stick with me.
The truth is this pile has everything a gardener could dream of. Horse manure, wood shavings, vegetable scraps, chicken manure, egg shells, worms and a host of other wonderful components abound in the pile. You would think we won the lottery by how many friends ask for a scoop of our compost for their gardens. We are as a result, quite proud of the quality of our pile.
One year a volunteer sprout came up on the pile in spring. Curious about what it would become we left it undisturbed. We were careful not to harm the “mystery plant” through the spring and into the summer. Then, we noticed tiny melons! Hooray! These were bound to be the best melons ever grown on earth. By the health of the plant and the beauty of the melons we were expecting them to be pretty tasty.
Still unsure of just what kind of melon they were we called them Poop-a-lopes and anticipated the harvest.
One day a few weeks later my husband scurried into the house carrying a large Poop-a-lope he had picked. Anxious to cut into it he stabbed it with a knife. “Smells like turpentine,” I said. The sliced melons strong scent wafted through the kitchen. “Yeah, but I bet it tastes good,” he replied. He whacked off a bite size piece and handed me the fork. I engulfed the small prize. And then, well, I spit it out. “Yuck! It tastes like turpentine too!” As it turns out the Poop-a-lopes lived up to the name we had given them.
How could this be? The growing environment was so rich, so perfect. The plant was so healthy, green, and vibrant. The melons were perfect in shape, color, and size.
Then it occurred to me, I know a lot of people who are just like these Poop-a-lopes. They grow up in the richest of environments. Everything is available to them in abundance. Constant protection is over their heads. Their lives are perfect; or so it seems. On the outside their perfection is believable. They are beautiful, with radiant personalities, and all the frills to boot. They live in fancy houses, wear trendy clothes, and drive sports cars. Yet, on the inside they smell of clutter, debt, irresponsibility, and stress. They also have some pretty disgusting taste.
So what did we do with the Poop-a-lopes? Well, we put them back on the pile of course. Maybe by the time their seeds germinate again we will have spread the rich compost onto the poor soil in our pasture. There the seeds will find themselves in a more balanced environment. A position where there is struggle to take root, and to find all the nourishment they need to grow. A spot where they will have to work around rocks, combat pests, and even overcome getting trampled on a few times. A place where the good and the bad serve to blend in such a way as to yield that perfect mix which builds strength, character, goodness, and great taste.
“Throw me to the wolves and I will return leading the pack.”
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