I’ve been writing a post for days. Not quite getting it right, tweaking it here and there, writing and rewriting it in my head, really wanting to get it done before Tuesday night. It’s Tuesday night now and I deleted the whole thing… on purpose.
Because I can’t get this other thing out of my head and that is… that change and time and growth and sprouts and all of it just takes as long as it takes.
So often we want to rush it along or slow it down. We want to hurry up or we want more time. We can’t wait until it’s over, or we don’t want it to end. And the “it” just takes as long as it takes.
As I was planting all of my garden seeds this year I was looking at the germination rates: 14 days for peppers, 3 days for lettuce, 21 days for beets. It seemed like the zinnias popped up in one night—a quantum leap! But everything else? It’s just taking as long as it takes for those seeds to sprout.
My husband and I were talking recently about how well the kids were playing together lately, on their own, lost in their own little worlds with hilarious tiny human conversations.
We remembered going on a camping trip, driving the Baja peninsula when they were 1 and 3, thinking that when we got to the beach they’d just go play together. To our disappointment, they didn’t. Today they’re 4 and 6 and they’re finally doing what I thought they were going to do 3 years ago. And this is how long it took.
We are such an instant gratification society. We expect miracle cures in 1 or 2 sessions; we give up when we don’t see immediate results after 1 week of exercising or dieting; we hear of someone else’s spontaneous remission and then lose motivation when it hasn’t happened for us after 2 weeks of deciding we’re going to heal ourselves.
I have always been one of those people who wants things now, anxious about when I’m going to get “there.” But with life experiences adding up, I’m acquiring a bit more grace and a lot more space for things to take as long as they take. I’m 40 now and this is how long it has taken.
Another thing is that you can’t go by appearances. Because all that you’re working towards or waiting for is happening all along beneath the surface in the matrix of the soil web. It appears as though nothing is happening or that it’s taking forever and then something sprouts and you declare it an overnight miracle. But it’s not.
The miracles are in the mundane, day to day, 1% at a time, watering, tending, feeding, rehearsing, practicing, showing up with your eye on the prize of what you know can come to be, waiting to see it made manifest. There is so much going on in the unseen before you see it come to fruition. It just takes as long as it takes.
What a relief, right? The pressure is off! We can do our part to tend, but if we over-function, over-water, over-fuss, over-anything it’s not going to make anything happen any faster.
Part of our job includes letting go, surrendering it, offering it up to a greater intelligence for the timing to be what it is meant to be. Grief, dreams, seeds, kids, projects, mastery, winter, journeys, a day in a lifetime. They all just take as long as they take to experience, integrate, and gain wisdom from.
And go easy on yourself. Not all seeds will sprout. They’re not all meant to, like that article I was trying to write by over-doing. I let it go and watered the other one, and it was like a zinnia, popping up over night. Maybe the first article is more like a beet and will come to be in a future post. Life is like that.
I swear gardening is a metaphor for every lesson in life, isn’t it? We’ve got to nourish our roots, tend to what’s below the surface as well as let go and let things take their course, trusting the process and enjoying the space in between. And when you’re eventually enjoying the fruits of your labor, I hope you’ll smile and look back and say “Huh, so that’s how long it took.”