Our last five minutes on earth are running out.
We can spend those minutes in meanness, exclusivity,
and self-righteous disparagement of those who are different from us,
or we can spend them consciously embracing every glowing soul
who wanders within our reach – those who, without our caring,
would find the vibrant, exhilarating path of life just another sad and forsaken road.
~Alice Walker from Anything We Love Can Be Saved
During these summer weeks of orientation of new college students and their parents, I speak to several thousand people, all looking nervous in unfamiliar territory among strangers.
They are about to embark on a road that rises to meet them and leads them to parts unknown.
I try to say, as I shake each hand, and give out my card with my personal phone number:
this too will be okay. This too will bless you. Even when there are potholes, uneven surfaces and times when you want to turn back to more familiar territory, you will find the road to your next destination fulfilling and welcoming.
Embrace the journey…and each other.
And I embrace you.
(Thanks Ann Voskamp for sharing your message to your college-bound son here)
What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and wildness?
Let them be left,O let them be left, wildness and wet,
Long live the weeds and the wildness yet.
~Gerard Manley Hopkins from “Inversnaid”
Maybe I identify with weeds as I too have grown a bit “excessive” in mid-life, growing unnecessarily and a bit fluffier than I need be. Maybe I admire their ability to thrive where they land, resilient through all sorts of trials and deprivation. Certainly they deserve appreciation for their wildly unique characteristics and their perfect imperfections. Once I get to know them, their beauty brings me joy.
I can only hope I too can be left, my over-proliferation shown grace, my greediness granted mercy.
In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect.
…if the simple things in nature have a message you understand,
Rejoice, for your soul is alive.
Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them.
~A. A. Milne
…make no mistake: the weeds will win; nature bats last.
~Robert M. Pyle