O . . . K . . . um, what are we looking at here?

Unrealized. Potential.

This is a picture of a Moonflower vine in my backyard (I know it doesn’t look like the one in your sister’s yard and that the one in your neighbor’s yard is more of a bush – but that’s for another blog).  It bloomed once, three big, beautiful, saucer-sized, aromatic, white blooms (if I’d known it was only going to bloom one day, I would have gotten a picture).  And then, frost-bitten.  (Mostly, it’s my fault because I planted it late, but again, that’s for another blog).

Here’s what I didn’t do when my moonflower vine failed to live up to its potential:

1. I didn’t stamp my foot and curse and call it stupid and useless.

2. I didn’t rip it out of the ground and vow to never plant again.

3. I didn’t give up on moonflower as a hopeless plant that will never, ever again be worth anything.

You know what I did?  I thought, “Rats.  Well, maybe those few blossoms set some seeds for next year’s vine”.  I thought, “I still have some seeds I didn’t plant, maybe they’ll still be viable in the spring.”  I thought, “those were so pretty I’m going to try again next year and try to remember to plant earlier.”

Just look at that big beautiful bud, so full of unrealized potential.

And it made me think.  Lots of times I haven’t lived up to my own potential.  Lots of times I’ve given up and dropped out and taken the easy road instead of finishing, sticking to it, doing my best.

But here’s the sad thing.  I don’t often extend to myself the same grace I’ve given that moonflower vine.  When it’s me, I do call myself stupid and lazy and worthless.  I do say to myself, it’s hopeless, I might as well give up I’m such a loser, why do I even try.

But I’m going to try really hard not to do that anymore.   Instead I’m going to hope for myself like I’m hoping for next year’s moonflower.  Instead I’m going to think about those few big, beautiful fulfilled blooms that I have been able to produce and I’m going to focus on making more of those.  I’m going to believe in myself the same way I believe in that moonflower, the same way that I believe in spring and sunrise and the power of love.

And I’m going to try really hard to believe the same things of others in my life when maybe they have days of unrealized potential and disappointing failures.

(this post is my entry for November’s What I Learned From project at Middle Zone Musings)