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“Special Is As Special Does”

Manicured Hedges

Have you ever had this sneaky feeling that you’re special? I mean really special. Diamond in the rough, destined for greatness, legend in the making kind of special. Have you had an inner confidence since you were a child that one day you were going to do something truly great? The good news is – you are special! You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You have a mission that is yours alone to accomplish, a mark to leave, and lives to impact. That’s the good news. The bad news is – special is as special does.

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There was a little boy who always wanted to be a gardener. He loved the feel of the earth in his hands and the feel of the sun on his back. He loved the smell of rain and the miracle of an unseen seed suddenly breaking the ground’s surface and sprouting into a small shoot. He looked forward to those shoots becoming leaves and eventually a flower, a shrub, a tree! His father was a gardener who tended acres of beautiful grounds for a wealthy family on the British countryside.

 

Jeremy always dreamed that one day he would do the same. He longed to be in charge, marching up and down the lands in his Wellington boots; he had already picked a color for them, forest green. He dreamed of how he would look like he was floating as he skirted across the grounds, weeding, cutting grass, pruning roses, and shaping bushes into well manicured hedges.

Manicured Hedges

Jeremy often helped his father pluck weeds and scoop soil into newly transplanted rose bushes. On his 12th birthday his father gifted him a pack of marigold seeds, with a little card that read “My dearest Jeremy, plant your dreams, water them, nurture them, work at them, and they will grow and blossom beautifully.” Jeremy was exhilarated!

 

The next day he took the pack of seeds to school and showed all his friends and teachers. The following Sunday he took it along to Sunday school and showed them to everyone in his class. He carried the packet of seeds everywhere he went – on errands to the market for his mum, when he was playing by the stream with his little sister, when he was out weeding with his father. He even tucked them under his pillow while he slept.

 

A year went by and on Jeremy’s 13th birthday his father gifted him a delicate vase with a perfectly round base and a high flute. It was made of clear glass and stood about 16 inches tall. Jeremy was confused. He wasn’t very happy with the gift but he hid it well from his father. He thanked him profusely, but later that evening when his father returned home from work he called Jeremy to his side and asked him why the vase remained empty and forlorn. Especially since Jeremy’s mother had set it up on her best table cloth in the middle of the dining table. Jeremy hung his head and mumbled that he did not know what to do with it.

 

What his father said next stuck with Jeremy for the rest of his life: “Son, I gave you the seeds a year ago so that you would start working towards your dreams. It is excellent to identify your interests, but success cannot be achieved until you stop dreaming out loud and start to put your dreams in the ground. If you want to have a beautiful garden you cannot keep showing everyone the seeds, you must plant them and tend them. If you had put your hands where your mouth was, your marigolds would be planted and blooming, and this year you could have made a cutting, put them in the vase, and we would all be enjoying the fruit of your labour. If you want to reap you must sow, and before you can showcase anything you first have to put in the work to prepare. It takes time, it takes effort, it takes focus.

 

Jeremy hung his head in shame as tears streamed down his forlorn face. “You’re right father. I’m so sorry. Thank you for the opportunity. I was so happy to have seeds I could show off to everyone that I forgot that I actually had to plant them. And now it is too late. I have a vase and nothing to display in it.”

 

Jeremy’s father chuckled. “Don’t look so downcast son. You may not have flowers, but you’ve learned a valuable lesson. And every time you take away the lesson from the experience you grow a little and get a little better. It is not too late at all, seeds never expire Jeremy – your dream is still alive too, all you have to do is plant it and nurture it.”

 

Jeremy jumped up abruptly with a smile breaking across his tear-streaked face.

“Where are you going son?” his father inquired.

“To plant my dreams!” Jeremy responded excitedly as he dug his hand into his pocket to retrieve his year old seed packet and bounded outside the kitchen door into the back garden.

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Like Jeremy we all know how easy it is to get caught up in the show and tell. To get so excited about one step in the right direction that we cease all activities and begin to talk off the ears of everyone who cares to listen. We spend so much time showing and telling our seeds that we never get round to planting them, and before we know it what started off as an enthusiastic resolution becomes worn out packaging and unleashed potential. As Jeremy’s father said, “If you want to have a beautiful garden you cannot keep showing everyone the seeds, you must plant them and tend them.

 

Do you have seeds of potential left unplanted? Let us commit to stop talking about that one dream and instead start tilling the soil, planting the seed, and looking forward to the growth and increase.

Zeni St. John

  • SR St John

    Zen, Your blog really is for all ages.
    Keep up the wise words. How do we grow our gardens? Show the seeds or sow the seeds?
    Indeed there is something uniquely domiciled in each individual, the seed divinely placed within us to sow and tend on this fertile earth. Great analogy and what you’ve identified as the obstacle namely”show and tell” especially in this selfie/like era possess a major obstacle.

    July 6, 2016 at 11:26 pm Reply
  • Neusa

    A much needed motivational analogy! it is easy to forget about the long road ahead, you’re right the small steps towards the garden are a sucess but one has to continue dreaming for the garden to actually come to life. Thank you. I shall share this

    July 7, 2016 at 1:37 pm Reply
  • Mona Matiko

    This is a very good read. Inspirational! Keep up the good work Zeni 🙂

    July 7, 2016 at 4:43 pm Reply
  • Oduenyi

    Thanks Zeni. Your article came as a word in due season. It’s easy to get carried away with the excitement of new idea or a dream and forget that it takes effort, work and time to nurture and bring it to fruition. I’m glad you are putting your gift to work being a blessing to others. Keep up the good work. I’m proud of you

    July 7, 2016 at 7:04 pm Reply
  • Amina

    Thanks Zeni dear for this inspiring piece. Yet another confirmation to propel me in the right direction. God’s blessing’s always….xoxo

    July 11, 2016 at 5:06 pm Reply
  • Odochi

    Thanks for this Zeni.
    It’s easy to get comfortable dreaming, and sometimes fear keeps us from turning those dreams into reality, but it must be done in order to create room for even bigger dreams and results.
    I am inspired by the way you put your gift to work. There is power in these words! Great job.

    July 14, 2016 at 10:43 am Reply

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