Friday, January 8, 2016

Change is Not Failure

Miniature worlds have been fascinating forever.  Right now fairy gardens, terrariums, miniature gardens and all the different possible decorative items to fill these worlds are trending.  The idea to create something small and perfect is alluring.  I have been playing with miniature landscapes since the sandbox days of childhood.  My mom was a big proponent of sending us outside to play in nature and use nature as our toys.  Perhaps I haven’t grown up all that much since then.

Turtle tea light candle holder repurposed to miniature planter.  
Collection of hens and chicks and sedum.

Glass globes are a new addition to my small world landscapes.  I obtained one on clearance and hurried home with my new treasure, plotting all the possibilities.  I found a Selaginella "Golden Moss" which I thought would be perfect.  Happily I hung him up and watered him faithfully and it was ok… for a while.  Then it died, just withered away to brown depressing strings.  I think the humidity was too low for it… I think….  In any case, failure yelled at me every time I saw it.

Version one of globe world.

I let it hang there for months before I finally decided to try again and remove this negative reminder of my failure.  I went searching for the perfect plant to put in it at Jonker’s Gardens, a local nursery at which I had once been an employee (we parted amicably and I still take clients there).   The owner, Mr. Jim reminded me of something important.  There really is no plant that will stay small permanently.  He told me it would be about four months before it would be too big and would need to be replaced.  Change…

See, I don’t like change.  In my desire to be perfect, the need for change means I wasn’t perfect.  If it was perfect, change would not be necessary.  Change just reminded me of my deficiencies.  I wanted to create a world that would stay perfect, untouched by well, reality I guess.   I know that it is necessary; life is always changing, growing, and adapting.  I understand change is good just as I resent it.  Perception is a funny thing.

In Integrated Forest Gardening, a permaculture book I am working my way through, I came across a paragraph talking about change, emphasis mine.

Creatively Use and Respond to Change: Use Adversity
Change is a matter of fact and life.  Just as things get comfortable, they change.  Expect constant change – fast and slow in everything from sunlight to temperature.  Do not be afraid of change. Prepare for it.  Take advantage of it.  Changes are an opportunity to improve.  The shift of energy can be used to create new energy and a new direction.  In an ecological frame of mind, look forward to change – especially seasonal change, without which you would have little opportunity to improve systems or enjoy any harvest at all.  Plants, animals, and trees base their lives on the living systems around them that have patterns of change; they respond to these changes and in many ways benefit.  (Weiseman, Halsey and Ruddock, 72)

Instead of focusing on the past and the failure itself, this encourages me to focus on the new opportunity presented by this, ahem, empty space.  This is grace.  As a teacher, it is my job to help my students work through problems and failures to learn the subject.  I do not expect them to master it on the first introduction or even the third in some cases.  Why do I believe that this grace extended to my beloved students is not available to me?

It was, it always is, but I did not see it due to the heavy load of self-inflicted rules and lines bowing my back, preventing me from looking up to see the gentle hand of my Heavenly Father reaching out to remove my burden.  Grace says, “I see your faults, mistakes and accidents and love you regardless.  Come, let us sweep up this mess and look for the lesson and try again.  Don’t stay in the ruined attempt, the broken glass, dead plants and failures, get up and forgive yourself and move forward little one.  You are loved, you are precious and you are not your failure.”

Change becomes a positive place in this perception.  It is not a reminder of the failure; it is a moving beyond failure to take the opportunity to succeed in the next development of the project.  Fear of failure, rebellion against change results in paralysis which leads to death.  You see, that which does not grow will die.  The plant that out grows its miniature world is alive, living and expanding.  That is to be celebrated, even if it means that it must get yanked out and replaced by another smaller version.  So I replanted the globe again.  This time with tiny succulents harvested from various plants in my landscape.

Version two of globe world just after planting.

I am understanding that it is ok for beauty to be fleeting, to enjoy a temporary moment of “coolness” before it is gone.  The enjoyment of the process is just as important as the end product.  I am not equal to the permanence of my creation.  So change may always make by breath catch and I may hesitate, but I hope that I am learning that when I am loved, it doesn’t matter.  It is not the level of outward perfection that He is concerned with, but rather the condition of my heart.  Is it soft and willing to change that which needs to be, or is it so engrossed in the tangled knot of failure that it is unwilling to be released from bondage?  I am loved.  I do not need to fear change.

Globe world six weeks later.

No comments:

Post a Comment