“I was open to pain and crossed by the rain and I walked on a crooked crutch
I strolled all alone through a fallout zone and came out with my soul untouched.”
Bruce Springsteen, Growing Up
My twelve-year-old niece Lily is a kindred soul.
I’m amazed at how we mentally connect.
A few summers ago we even founded a summer book club together. But that’s for another blog….
Last week she was out for a walk with her Mom. She took this picture and sent it to me with the quote, “Bloom where you’re planted.” Nothing more. Just that.
Coincidentally it was the same day I started working on my mini-garden in my yard.
Another new venture.
Her message made me think about growth.
Growth in these times.
Maybe it was her use of the phrase ‘where you’re planted.’
We certainly have been planted over the last couple of months.
We all go from the stage of growing up…to growing older….and then hopefully growing wiser.
I thought about her being just twelve…..and my being…..well much more than twelve.
Are we both being forced to grow during this time?
The economy is not growing…..but are we?
Are we growing as humans….as a society….are we learning lessons?
Are my sons growing from this….by going through this?
Are they growing more empathetic for affected families?
Are they growing more caring towards neighbors in need?
Are they growing more sympathetic to those who have lost loved ones?
Are they growing more appreciative of healthcare workers?
Sometimes you’re forced to grow. You’re challenged by work. By family. By time…….especially trying times.
It is also important to remember that often growth is accompanied by pain.
As I continued my gardening, I remembered a story I had read from Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski. (video link below)
“How do lobsters grow?
…a lobster is a soft mushy animal that lives inside of a rigid shell. That rigid shell does not expand.
…how can the lobster grow!?
As the lobster grows, that shell becomes very confining… the lobster feels itself under pressure and uncomfortable.
It goes under a rock formation to protect itself from predatory fish, casts off the shell and produces a new one.
Well eventually that shell becomes very uncomfortable as it grows… back under the rocks… and the lobster repeats this numerous times.”
The Rabbi’s key observation is that it’s the feeling of discomfort that enables the lobster to retreat and then grow. Stress becomes the stimulus for further growth.
I love that story but I also believe sometimes the need for growth comes from within.
When you land in a situation where the ground is not so fertile you have to work hard to ensure your own growth. That doesn’t necessarily mean learning some new craft or skill. It can mean growing your existing qualities.
Sometimes we have to water ourselves.
Don’t use your surroundings as an excuse. If a dandelion can grow from a rock, we can grow in these times. Most often the best coaching is born of adversity.
When you’re planted you can wither and die. You can live but wilt…… Or you can decide to grow and thrive. I hope we all choose the latter.
Maybe form a book club for starters……
Hopefully we all shed this painful shell soon and grow into new, more comfortable ones.
To start the process again.