My children give me gifts every day. This particular day, the gift turned out to be a gift of the heart, and a reminder of all I have to be grateful for.
I am sometimes confronted with difficulty in how to discuss certain things with my children.These are most often topics that I don’t feel confident in how to communicate to them. I worry that I may stumble over my words and do more damage than good, or just be dismissed as “Mum, what ARE you going on about?”
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree:
I wasn’t the most self assured child. Yet I was a very hard-headed stubborn child. I doubted and questioned most things, including myself and others. I often felt a bit uneasy and not sure-footed. Or I felt self- righteous and all-knowing. Was it due to nature or nurture? I don’t know. I don’t think it really matters anyway. It was just the way I was. I was an artistic, sensitive, over stimulated heart-on-my-sleeve kinda kid with a curiosity and connection to the supernatural. All of the above felt like (and seemed like at times) a recipe for disaster, or at the least, I was trouble! My children seem wired in similar ways (minus the trouble part), and possess many other strange and wonderful attributes. Their particular uniqueness are obvious to other people who know them, despite whether they themselves know what they have. I feel I get them. I understand them. I know that we all have insecurities at times, but it still pains me when I hear my own children expressing any self-doubt. I just want to take it all away for them. But I can’t. I am only human as well, and I can only try to impart my experience and any tiny drop of wisdom I may receive. I do try my best.
On this particular bright and early morning I was gifted with a wonderful conversation with my eldest son. It began with me nagging to all three of them (more like AT them) about needing to be more motivated, trying harder, getting more organised, on and on ad infinitum. I was being a relentlessly whiney mum who obviously didn’t have much insight of when was a good time to spew a barrage of requests and commands at people. 8 am is probably not ideal (is there any ideal time for nagging, please let me know?!) I know that I was sounding frustrated because I was frustrated. I was offering problems, sighting offences, but not offering any solutions. I was on a serious role, and it could have gone on much longer. Trust me.
Then I stopped. I shut my mouth and I took a few deep breaths. As I inhaled I saw an image of a handful of seeds, and I was immediately flooded with insights that I felt I was meant to share with my son, Asher. (The other two had sneakily left the room by this point!) Because I surrendered and halted my own busyness I was now able to actually hear the deep in my heart and receive direction that he and I could share in dialogue together. The conversation began:
“You should plant them.”
“What if your seeds were not planted in soil, and were just discarded onto hard ground or in the bin, what would happen to them?”
“They would do nothing, they would not grow, they would only shrivel up and die and that would be a waste!”
“What else do our seeds need?”
“They will need to be planted when the soil is ready, and then looked after. They will need lots of water, sunlight, and good soil. They will need lots of love!”
“What if you did all those things, and then you decided to forget about them after a time and they start to wilt, whither, or dry up?”
“You would be so lucky that they did not die and you now better take extra good care of them, spend even more time and pay even more attention to them then you did the first time. They need extra love, extra food, and extra hard work to get them to grow as big and as strong as they can!”
“Yes, this is all true! You should remember to appreciate your gifts as they will be your resources in your life. The more lovingly you take care of them, the more you will be rewarded. Others will then be able to share in your gifts, as you honourably and generously give them away to the world!”
“Does everyone have a handful of seeds?”
“Everyone is given many seeds, many talents, many gifts in this life. Some folks seem to have been given better, more fertile soil right from the start. It may appear that they have an easier place to grow their seeds. We all are meant to work with what we have, and adapt to our particular circumstances and environment that we have been placed in this life. Even when it seems impossible to break ground, we should persevere and not abandon our gifts.We are all exactly where we are meant to be.
Be attentive to these seeds as they are your gifts from God. No matter whether your soil is dry, no matter whether you forgot about your seeds for a period of time, no matter whether you even know what the seeds will eventuate into, just plant them. Just water them. Place them where they will receive lots of light. Pay attention to them every day. Love them. You will surely discover what they are as they bloom into a beautiful sight! They will far exceed what you could have imagined in your wildest of dreams!”
This conversation was illuminating, beautiful and unforgettable. For both mother and son.
I gained heaps of insight into myself because of this conversation with Asher. I looked back at my choices regarding my gifts at various times of my life. I was sometimes quite careless and threw them away thoughtlessly. At other times I lackadaisically scattered my seeds to the wind, praying that God would water and grow them for me when I didn’t want to do the work but I wanted the reward. I landed on rocky ground at times, and wanted to give up and walk away because it felt too hard. I compared my garden to your garden which always appeared richer and so easy to tend. I cried out “no fair!” from the top of my lungs, but this would not change the circumstance in any way shape or form. It was time that saw that I had in fact chosen the rockier soil because of my own neglect or self-will run riot.
I can now tell you that I was given beautifully rich soil from the beginning, I just had to pay attention and keep my eyes on it. It was always there to provide me with a bedrock, and wonderful growing conditions, I just needed to trust and have faith that my seeds would grow. I needed to make sure that my eyes were open, and were focused upward toward the sun.
I am watching my children bloom in front of my eyes. I have a responsibility to help them cultivate their seeds from their own integrity. This is an honour, and a hard task, where the ground sometimes feels unsure underfoot. It sometimes feels rocky, but I know that I only need to look up and I am provided with all the tools I need. This is the most important gift I have ever been handed.
I got to really appreciate one of my son’s gifts this morning. The gift of communicating from the heart. Thank you for giving a gift to me today, son. You are tending to your garden it in such beautiful and eloquent ways.