It's another glorious day in Washington, the sun is shining and the air is warm. As we walk outside to visit a dear young friend who is in the hospital facing another three weeks of chemotherapy, my son exclaims, "It feels like heaven! " The landscape is filled with blooming cherry and bradford pear trees. The forsythia is blooming, the smell of hyaciths fills the air and the cheerful daffodils nod as the wind blows softly past us. These wonderful sights and smells herald the beginning of spring and the good times to come.
Just two weeks ago, snow covered the ground and we wondered if spring would ever arrive. It's amazing how time flies and how our reality shifts everyday. Seeing the daffodils blooming and thinking of our friend in the hospital for another three weeks, makes my heart ache. By the time Ashley emerges from the hospital, the blooms on these daffodils will be withered and long past their prime. It is a gentle reminder, that we must enjoy the beauty around us today and cherish the special moments we share with those who are dear to us.
While Ashley will not see the daffodils blooming this year, she can still count her blessings. She can relish the sight of her smiling visitors, the gurgles of her baby who visits often and enjoy the love of her husband who spends most nights on a small sofa beside her hospital bed. She can use this time to get well and to relax knowing that her family is caring for her baby. She can rest, nourish her body and envision a brighter tomorrow. She can plot the actions she will take when the chemo treatment is over and see herself walking out of the hospital. She can see in her mind's eye, the time ahead when she can again frolick in the ocean, with her darling little girl.
We, like Ashley, are encouraged to enjoy the beauty around us and to make time for dreaming. We are also encouraged to take action on our visions because before we know it, our moments on earth will end. Please take a few moments to read the following story and then begin working on your dream tomorrow. We must remember, time waits for no one, but the little actions we take each day add up and will be remembered.
THE DAFFODIL PRINCIPLE - Jaroldeen Asplund Edwards
Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, "Mother, you must come see the daffodils before they are over." I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead. "I will come next Tuesday, " I promised, a little reluctantly, on her third call. Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had promised, and so I drove there. When I finally walked into Carolyn's house and hugged and greeted my grandchildren, I said, "Forget the daffodils, Carolyn! The road is invisible in the clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and these children that I want to see bad enough to drive another inch!" My daughter smiled calmly and said," We drive in this all the time, Mother."
"Well, you won't get me back on the road until it clears, and then I'm heading for home!" I assured her. " I was hoping you'd take me over to the garage to pick up my car. "How far will we have to drive?" "Just a few blocks," Carolyn said. "I'll drive. I'm used to this." After several minutes, I had to ask, "Where are we going? This isn't the way to the garage!" "We're going to my garage the long way," Carolyn smiled, "by way of the daffodils." "Carolyn," I said sternly, "please turn around." "It's all right, Mother, I promise. You will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience." After about twenty minutes, we turned onto a small gravel road and I saw a small church. On the far side of the church, I saw a hand-lettered sign that read, "Daffodil Garden". We got out of the car and each took a child's hand, and I followed Carolyn down the path. Then, we turned a corner of the path, and I looked up and gasped.
Before me lay the most glorious sight. It looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it down over the mountain peak and slopes. The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns - great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, saffron, and butter yellow. Each different-colored variety was planted as a group so that it swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue. There were five acres of flowers.
"But who has done this?" I asked Carolyn. "It's just one woman," Carolyn answered. "She lives on the property. That's her home." Carolyn pointed to a well-kept A-frame house that looked small and modest in the midst of all that glory. We walked up to the house. On the patio, we saw a poster. "Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking" was the headline.
The first answer was a simple one. "50,000 bulbs," it read. The second answer was, "one at a time, by one woman. Two hands, two feet, and very little brain." The third answer was, "Began in 1958." There it was. The Daffodil Principle. For me, that moment was a life-changing experience. I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, more than thirty-five years before, had begun - one bulb at a time - to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountain top.
Just planting one bulb at a time, year after year, this unknown woman had forever changed the world in which she lived. She had created something of ineffable magnificence, beauty, and inspiration. The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principles of celebration. That is, learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time - often just one baby-step at a time - and learning to love the doing, learning to use the accumulation of time. When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world.
"It makes me sad in a way," I admitted to Carolyn. "What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five years ago and had worked away at it 'one bulb at a time' through all those years. Just think what I might have been able to achieve!" My daughter summed up the message of the day in her direct way. "Start tomorrow," she said.
After reading the stories above, I wonder, what path will you follow? Are you more committed to your dream or your reality? What baby steps can you take to show you are taking action and walking toward your vision?