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Joyful Endurance. Lessons for the Early Age of Awakening

Joyful Endurance

Joyful Endurance. What some inexpensive little flowers have taught me about showing up, just showing up.

Joyful Endurance is the latest lesson from my garden. This story surprised and inspired me. In that spirit, I offer it to you.

First of All, Why Buy Flowers in Late October?

Unless you live in a Southern Hemisphere country like Australia, it makes little sense.

Pay good money for flowers, annuals? Dare to put them in the ground when a frost might arrive any day and crush them?

Originally, I Had No Thought of Joyful Endurance

Instead I simply wanted a little floral escapism. You know, when you yearn to see something pretty in the yard.

Especially since fallen leaves are poetic, in their moldering way. (For evidence, see my love of autumn in the teenage-angsty part of “Bigger than All the Night Sky,” my memoir.) Only they lose a lot of their charm... by the time the gorgeous fall colors fade. What are we left with then? Scraggly heaps of tree discards, all in a defeated shade of brown.

Complicating the mess, what about the position of houses on my side of the street? Compounding the dead leaf problem!

  • True, on this side of the street, we get steady sunshine.
  • But neighbors’ leaves migrate here, too.
  • No matter what, every September it starts: a six-month decor of dreary brown shreds.

Color. In my yard I wanted some pretty color. On impulse I drove to my favorite garden center and bought a whole flat of pansies: Tiny baby faces, in shades of purple, yellow, marigold, pink and white. Larger pansies were available, too: large and lush, so confident they reminded me of big beach umbrellas. Twice the size and triple the price.

No thank you. Tiny little flowers were plenty for me, economy size. Maybe they’d only last a week. Meanwhile they’d bring some joy to my heart before winter closed in.

Sure, We Got Snow Last Winter

No Minnesota-like walls of snow. But occasionally a bit of white decor would delicately cover the lawn. Helping to reduce my guilt over all the weeding.

And isn’t that the downside of loving your garden? All the guilt over never weeding quite enough. Tell me I’m not the only one!

Weeds and dull leaves, that’s what I’d see when viewing my front yard. Bitter cold air for walking. And visually a daily reminder of chores left undone. (Since I preferred to do far more enjoyable things, like the joy of RES sessions and writing this blog.)

In my neighborhood, thankfully, we don’t get much wintertime drama. Occasionally a red fox will play in my back yard. As for the ubiquitous squirrels, year round, what do these sillies do? They treat my entire block like their own personal amusement park. Ergggg.

All winter long, I’d stop to see how my pansies were doing. Was it enjoyment or more a sense of impending doom? My gaze could be summed up as one part admiration and one part a morbid, “Are they dead yet?”

Finally Spring Came

Astoundingly, the snow cleared up. Finally we got all the fall leaves bagged and vanquished.

Only then did it strike me: How my pansies had never left.

Snow didn’t kill them. This next photo doesn’t do them justice, but at least it can give you an idea of my survivor flowers.

(And if you click on this photo, it will become far easier to see those pansies.)

Joyful Endurance Continues

Joyful Endurance from these brave pansies after a long, hard winter.

In this part of my garden, what showed up in early spring? Scraggly leftovers from last year’s perennial growth (lariope and such). Beautifully punctuated by surviving purple, yellow, and pink.

Tiny but tremendously cheering, those pansies of mine! Still living and glowing, astoundingly vibrant!

Joyful Endurance Inspired Me

These pansies, seemingly so delicate. Frail, even.

Yet truth be told, they turned out far stronger than expected. Mounded pansies endured through snow and rain; braving both coldness and the general slog of winter. My enduring pansies astounded me.

However, once spring began, most of my admiration went to the newbies:

Only Guess What?

After a couple of weeks, most of those flowery blooms have blown away. (It didn’t help their longevity that we got a lot of rain, followed by a big storm of wind.)

If you look at this next photo, which flowers now are the hardiest and brightest???? Amazingly, the pansies!

Joyful Endurance Triumphs

Joyful Endurance Triumphs, as those bold pansies outlast the spring tulips, blooming away brighter than ever

Just click on this photo and take a good look at how much those pansies have grown, blooming away.

I do love my garden, all of it. Okay, except for the weeds…

Of course, I fall in love with every flower that blooms. But these humble little flowers, joyful and colorful — who knew they could last like this? Pansies have become the bloomingest flowers in my garden!

In Conclusion

Recently, in a comment here, BOB wrote: What I’ve taken from the Age of Awakening is that it’s an age of consciousness chaos.

I get that. “Consciousness chaos.” Although I didn’t come up with BOB’S witty label, sure, I’ve written about that before. As in the Forging Steel post (with so many great comments from you Blog-Buddies).

Let’s make no mistakes. Now we’re just in the transitional years, no call to despair. Please, let’s not call this “chaos.” Rather, it’s just the first decade, still, of that big deal for humanity that I call The Age of Awakening.”

The majority of human beings? They’re struggling, confused about adapting, sometimes making mistakes as they sort things out. Understandably! Most folks don’t have a clue yet what’s going on.

One thing that might help would be “The New Strong,” which aims to bring clarity. It gives practical ideas about how to adjust to our post-postmodern,  distinctly different, new rules for living. Rules that supplant the age-old, Age of Faith rules for living. And, yes, BOB put it well. Many good people today have slipped into “consciousness chaos.”

As for you, Blog-Buddies, you’ve refused to fall into today’s all-too-common consciousness lifestyle problems. Instead you progress as best you can. Using discernment in what you believe. And finding joy as best you can.

Mostly, though, you’re still showing up. Day after day, you’re giving your reasonable best to others. Not simply enduring, you’re choosing to live in integrity. Harder to do with full human complexity… compared to living like a simple, little, cheap-&-glorious bunch of pansies.

And yet my springtime garden has reminded me of this truth: Whether we seem important to others or not, we can be important to ourselves. We can bloom. We can thrive. We can be joy and bring joy.

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  1. 1
    Brittany says:

    Beautiful flowers and post, Rose. Today, I finally got to open all the windows and let fresh air inside. This totally increases the joy factor for me!

    And you’re not the only with weeding guilt. 🙂

  2. 2
    Bob says:

    Okay, maybe “consciousness chaos” was a bit hyperbolical, but I’m a sucker for alliteration.

    As a fellow fan of gardens, I admire your pansy metaphor. It reminds me of New Yorkers. 😉

  3. 3

    BRITTANY and BOB, so glad you enjoyed this article. Whenever I write these “Lessons from My Garden,” they’re among my most personal articles.

    Documenting ways that I grow as a human being. And I’m always fascinated by what people take away, and generously share here at the blog.

  4. 4

    On a different topic, today I was on Facebook and saw a photo of the burned interior of Notre Dame Cathedral.

    Yes, that was a link, in case you are interested in seeing it. I’m not showing this in order to popularize horror, tragedy etc. But because I’m curious what reaction you Blog-Buddies have to what happened. My reaction really surprised me…

  5. 5

    Here it is:

    What I notice is the Divine presence in that magnificent church, unchanged from how it was the two times I’ve visited it as an adult. The structure can surely be rebuilt.What has happened is tragic, but (not meaning to gloss over the tragedy), it is also a beginning. A new way for the Divine to get all dressed up, in a sanctuary that –even now — stands available to bless all who seek that Our Lady quality of sacred love.

  6. 6
    Cathy says:

    Aww love this! Pansies are lovely, and yes are super tough once established. They are very drought, cold, and damp tolerant. They will seed and come back randomly in your garden for years.

    Yes, they are a lovely metaphor for sweet toughness, and adapting to almost any garden situation.

  7. 7
    Diana says:

    Thank you for this blog post Rose-and I am especially moved by comment #5.

  8. 8
    Kylie says:

    I love this post, Rose. For me it is helpful, the idea of just showing up, day after day. Yesterday I had to fire one of my volunteer ESL tutors at the library. She was a very good tutor, who just couldn’t show up. She was always sick, or had forgotten her appointment, or overslept, or mistaken her work schedule. Or she came, but late, poorly dressed, too tired etc..

    I had such high hopes when I interviewed her initially, she seemed so bright and full of initiative. She was always so sorry, and claimed she really wanted this volunteer opportunity, she needed it for college. But she just couldn’t show up.

  9. 9
    Kylie says:

    Another volunteer, initially I didn’t take much notice of. There was nothing flashy about her, she was very modest and unassuming.

    But week after week, she has shown up. On time, properly dressed, well rested, as herself. Oh how beautiful she looks to me now. I have never had a moment’s worry that she will not show up for a shift.

  10. 10
    Kylie says:

    I think the first tutor could very much benefit from reading the New Strong. I suspect that when people have trouble showing up, it is because of how they are positioning their consciousness.

    I have been rereading my own copy of the New Strong, and gaining a new appreciation for how important it is to deal with pesky human problems, even the simplest of which can take so much time to get right. To just deal with those problems, humanly, one detail at a time.

  11. 11
    Kylie says:

    And being able to “reinsert yourself into objective reality” when you catch yourself having an away moment.

    Because it is very easy, when there are human type problems on the job (like volunteers who don’t show up) to try to solve those problems energetically (analyzing, worrying, praying etc) when what is really needed is to shallow up and say and do things in objective reality.

  12. 12
    Leo Watts says:

    Thank you for this post Rose, and thank you for your comments Kylie.

  13. 13

    You’re welcome, everyone. And definite thanks who all who’ve commented so far.

    About your idea in Comment #10, KYLIE, I agree.

  14. 14
    Diana says:

    Seriously —I cannot believe how stirred my emotions are about your Notre Dame comment.

    The divine is with us no matter how destroyed the structure, just like our lives!! So comforting

  15. 15
    Liane says:

    Beautiful comment #14, Diana.

    Pansies, the little darlings of Spring. Who can resist smiling in their presence?

  16. 16
    Lindsey says:

    Thank you Rose for this very lovely post. I just love gardens and gardening too!

    It’s always such a beautiful surprise when flowers from previous seasons show up again even brighter and bigger than before!

  17. 17
    Lindsey says:

    I love your comments in #5 as well. How sweet and lovely the Divine is in that structure. Surely a beautiful symbol of rebirth as well!

    Thank you Rpse.

  18. 18
    Olivia Swan says:

    I’ve lately felt in my own life the importance of showing up.

    Recently I’ve been having some big challenges and having days when it’s a very big deal for me to get out of bed, take a shower, and go to work.

  19. 19
    Olivia Swan says:

    I take pride in always living in integrity, even during challenging times.

    And when it gets hard, I just keep showing up.

  20. 20
    Olivia Swan says:

    And as it always does, eventually the sun starts to shine in my life again and I feel my joy, and hey I’ve even done some growing 🙂

  21. 21
    Anchie says:

    Wow, go little pansies! As a lover of flowers, I loved reading this article about your garden.

    Thank you, Rose, for this inspiring message of joyful endurance, of showing up.

  22. 22

    Lovely comments, everyone! LIANE, CATHY, and LEO, I big-appreciate you and your contributions here.

    DIANA and LINDSEY, you’ve inspired a follow-up post. Give me a week or so.

  23. 23

    OLIVIA, what a magnificent share. So human and inspiring!

    ANCHIE, you know a lot about showing up and taking action. You know. I know. You know that I know. And what a perfect wow you added today, Easter Sunday!

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