the measure of a human: when loving flowers was enough

Once upon a time, when we were young, what was liked was enough to define us. People would ask how old we were and then they would ask what we liked. Daisies, tv shows about builders, spinning in circles, slides, our parents, our siblings, cars and planes and trains.

These were the things we loved. These were the answers we gave. These were the things people talked about when they talked about us. .

Then we grew up, and the questions started changing. Now we were asked what we were doing, what we were accomplishing. Had we gone to college? Gotten married? Had kids? Good career?

So we started to do that too. We started defining ourselves by what we were doing.  There is a moment in life when loving flowers is no longer enough, you have to be a gardener.

And that’s the moment when our soul takes backstage to our abilities. And abilities? They aren’t everything. They aren’t. Some people won’t be a track star, they won’t walk at all. Some people won’t give rousing speeches, they will have limited speech or no verbal speech at all. And because we live in a society where the doing is more important than the being we talk about these things as if they matter. Ableism is a term meant to convey the idea that our society wrongly measures the worth of a person by being able to do certain things. Things like walking, talking and even living independently. Worth can’t be defined like that

And this defining thing goes further,  because whole societal structures are developed around randomly chosen doings, these displays of your supposed worth. Do you have a career that people consider successful? Something like a doctor, a lawyer, something white collar, something with a big paycheck? Did you marry someone and are you making babies with them? Did you graduate and do you have a piece of paper meant to prove your smarts? Do you play sports? What do you DO?

You can’t just love looking at mountains, you better learn to paint them. Having a favorite tv show is no longer something noteworthy, maybe you have a screenplay you’re working on? Oh you like french fries, but do you excel at cooking? See, loving flowers isn’t enough anymore, you have to be a gardener.

But every time we fall for that lie, every time we tell ourselves that measuring up to some randomly chosen standard is our goal, we lose that part of ourselves who once upon a time rightly believed that what we love and not what we do is who we are. Souls are fragile things. We have to care for them, we have to tell them that loving is enough, being is enough. Because it is. Being is more than doing. Always. And society won’t help us remember this. So we have to do it ourselves. We have to be intentional at remembering.

Maybe we have to ask ourselves – when it all comes to an end, and our time in mortal, physical form is over, what do we need to be remembered for in order to feel that we were somehow, good enough? That we wrote a book or painted a canvas?  That we ran the fastest or grew the most beautiful hydrangeas in the neighborhood?

Or will it be enough

if people simply remember

that we were someone

who loved flowers.

doing being and loving flowers

Call this my New Year Manifesto. Because I want to be the person who believes these truths and who lives in them.

{{Picture of my son and his cousin, playing with a daisy, several years ago.}}

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