This year of gardening, I’ve done some weird things. I’ve been pulling out the sunflowers, morning glories, and broccoli raab like weeds and leaving them to die. I know….sounds awful and drastic. And totally goes against my normal nature of cherishing and protecting every form of plant and bug life, even to the point where I can’t throw out a house plant till it’s good and dried up, with no hope of recovery. So, why this drastic action?
Because the ‘good’ had taken the place of the ‘best’.
Morning glories, sunflowers, and broccoli raab are all wonderful plants! The picture above is from my garden last year. They are gorgeous! But they also self-seed very well, which means they like to come back…..everywhere! The morning glories were planted three years ago, the sunflowers were planted by the birds or some unknown person, and the broccoli raab was added last year. Someday, I dream of having a fence line covered in morning glories, and a field of sunflowers. They could grow to their full potential…..because they would be in their proper place.
Proper place…..I started thinking about that as I was pulling up all the little seedlings this year. A sunflower in it’s proper place is a thing of beauty, gathering all the butterflies and honeybees to itself. But those same sunflowers also have the power to choke out cucumbers, green beans, summer squash and the things that are ‘best’. They also are not a good choice for when I’m nine months pregnant trying to clean out my garden, and I have to pull out those stalks by hand. So they may be ‘good’, but they are not the ‘best’ for me.
How many other things in my life are ‘good’, but not ‘best’? I thought about that this morning as my scattered brain was in the middle of trying to get soapy water to wash the floor, the littles were hungry and required food, I found a bag of potatoes going bad that needed me to cut them up, and my flower vase was asking for more water. Truely, for a moment, I tried to do all of them at once. (clearly that didn’t work) They were all ‘good’. But then I had to step back and decide what was most important for me to finish…what was ‘best’. Feeding the children obviously took first place, then cleaning the floor since that was the job I had first initiated before everything else called my attention.
I’ve been trying to apply the mantra of “Focus and finish”, something my husband has been trying to remind me of and also something I picked up from Crystal Paine in her post, “My New Mantra: Focus & Finish”. My scatter-brained way of doing things, running around trying to keep up with everything ‘good’ leads to me not getting the ‘best’ things done and leaves a trail of half-done projects behind me.
Here’s a list of questions I ask myself:
1. What must be done today? (a similar question: If I get nothing else done today, I will feel successful if _______ is completed.)
2. What must be done now (the kids’ nap schedules often dictate my list)
3. What have I already started, but not finished? (Focus and finish)
4. What one thing will make the biggest difference in our home, life, etc today? (example: clearing off the table makes a much bigger difference than going through one box from the closet)
5. What will make a lifetime impact? (usually soaking up extra snuggles from the littles outranks most things)
You don’t have to learn from my example, like I said…I’m working on this. Just offering the things I’m learning, and in turn I’d love to hear from you what you find that works.
We all hope for ‘fruit’, the accomplishment of what is ‘best’. But it will require us to narrow our focus, not getting caught up in the million ‘good’ things calling to us. But instead to focus on what we most want and need to cultivate/grow/accomplish/do.
Even flowers can become ‘weeds’, if not in their ‘best’ place.