Friday, February 6, 2009

You Have to See the Daffodils

This is a story posted by April Robins on Facebook. It is truly inspiring and I wanted to share it with you. I love the message: don't fret about yesterday, make today count - every little step brings you toward your goal. The idea is to be persistent, even if it's one little step at a time. While it's important to work toward your goals, remember to feel joy and satisfaction in the process of getting there. Try to see the vision of what each little bulb will eventually become if you persist in your efforts.

You Have to See the Daffodils

Several times my daughter had telephoned to say,
"Mother, you must come to see the daffodils before they are over."
I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead
"I will come next Tuesday",
I promised a little reluctantly on her third call.

Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy.
Still, I had promised, and reluctantly I drove there.
When I finally walked into my daughter Carolyn's
house I was welcomed by the joyful sounds of happy children.
I delightedly hugged and greeted my grandchildren.

I told my daughter, "Forget the daffodils, Carolyn!
The road is invisible in these clouds and fog, and
there is nothing in the world except you and my grandchildren
that I want to see right now. I don't want to drive another inch!"

My daughter smiled calmly and said,
"We drive in this weather all the time, mother."

"Well, you won't get me back on the road until it clears,
and then I'm heading for home!" I assured her.

"But first we're going to see the daffodils.
It's just a few blocks," Carolyn said. "I'll drive. I'm used to this."

"Carolyn," I said sternly,

"It's all right, Mother, I promise.
You will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience."

So we went!
After about twenty minutes, we turned onto a small gravel road
and I saw a small church. On the far side of the church,
I saw a hand lettered sign with an arrow that read,

"Daffodil Garden ---->"

We got out of the car, each of us took a child's hand,
and I followed Carolyn down the path.
Then, as we turned a corner, I looked up and gasped.
Before me lay the most glorious sight.
It looked as though someone had taken
a great vat of gold and poured it over the mountain peak
and its surrounding slopes.

The flowers were planted in majestic,
swirling patterns, great ribbons
and swaths of deep orange,
creamy white, lemon yellow, salmon pink,
and saffron and butter yellow.
Each different-colored variety was planted
in large groups so that it swirled
and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue.

There were five acres of flowers!

"Who did this?" I asked Carolyn.
"Just one woman," Carolyn answered.
"She lives on the property. That's her home."
Carolyn pointed to a well-kept A-frame house,
small and modestly sitting in the midst of all that glory.

We walked up to the house.
On the patio, we saw a poster.

"Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking"
was the headline.

The first answer was a simple one. "50,000 bulbs," it read.

The second answer was, "One at a time, by one woman. Two hands, two feet, and one brain."

The third answer was, "Began in 1958."

For me, that moment was a life-changing experience.
I thought of this woman whom I had never met,
who, more than forty years before, had begun,
one bulb at a time, to bring her vision
of beauty and joy to an obscure mountaintop.

Planting one bulb at a time, year after year,
this unknown woman had forever changed
the world in which she lived.
One day at a time, she had created something
of extraordinary magnificence, beauty, and inspiration.

The principle her daffodil garden taught me
is one of the greatest principles of celebration.
That is, learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time.

"It makes me sad in a way," I admitted to Carolyn.
"What might I have accomplished
if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five
or forty years ago and had worked away at it
'one bulb at a time' through all those years?

"Just think what I might have been able to achieve!"

My daughter summed up the message of the day
in her usual direct way.

"Start tomorrow," she said.

She was right.
It's so pointless to think of the lost hours of yesterdays.
The way to make learning a lesson of celebration
instead of a cause for regret is to only ask,

"How can I put this to use today?"

The Daffodil Principle.

Stop waiting.....
Until your car or home is paid off
Until you get a new car or home
Until your kids leave the house
Until you go back to school
Until you finish school
Until you clean the house
Until you organize the garage
Until you clean off your desk
Until you lose 10 lbs.
Until you gain 10 lbs.
Until you get married
Until you get a divorce
Until you have kids
Until the kids go to school
Until you retire
Until summer
Until spring
Until winter
Until fall
Until you die...

There is no better time than right now to be happy.
Happiness is a journey, not a destination.
So work like you don't need money.
Love like you've never been hurt,
and, Dance like no one's watching.

If you want to brighten someone's day,
pass this on to someone special (like I did to you!)

Wishing you a beautiful, daffodil day!
Don't be afraid that your life will end,
be afraid that it will never begin.

- Author unknown

10 comments:

terri.forehand said...

An absolutely inspiring peice which should stop us all in our steps... and think again. One word at a time towards our writing goals, or one bulb, or one kind word, or one whatever it takes to be happy right now.

Thanks for sharing,
Terri
http://heartfeltwords4kids.blogspot.com

Janet, said...

This is a beautiful lesson. I sometimes regret I only started writing a couple of years ago, but what's important is that I am writing now and that I continue to do so.

Carma's Window said...

Thanks for this heartwarming story Karen. I love the simple answer to the mother's questions. "Start Tomorrow".

Wise advice.
Carma
http://carmaswindow.blogspot.com

Karen and Robyn - Writing for Children said...

Thanks, All, for stopping by. I love the daughter's simple answer also: "Start tomorrow." I think I would change that to start now - you never know what tomorrow holds.

Karen

Dorothy Massey said...

I so enjoyed reading this inspiring story. I've always loved daffodils. They are so bright and cheerful. Thanks, Dorothy

Karen and Robyn - Writing for Children said...

Thanks for stopping by, Dorothy. It's a shame we don't know who the author is.
Karen

Irene J Harvey said...

Wow! I have just read the daffodil story, and am stunned by the simplicity of the message.
I intend to take the advice, and to start right now! I will start to do what I have always wanted to do, 'before I die'.
I want to become a 'known' author. I have written one book, and will get to work on more, one day at a time.
Irene J Harvey
http://eloquentbooks.com/WilliamtheFairgroundCar.html

Karen and Robyn - Writing for Children said...

Hi, Irene,

Thanks for stopping by. Everyone who reads this story is moved by it. It's so important to have a projection list or goals that we can strive toward and that's the best any of us can do - one day at a time.

Karen

Bill said...

The first time I saw this it had pictures of the daffodil garden. Can you tell me where I can find it again.
Thank you.

Karen and Robyn - Writing for Children said...

Hey, Bill,

I hope you get this message. I found this story posted by April Robins on Facebook. I think it was in February or it might have been the end of January09.

I can't remember now if the pictures were included.

You might try a search of the title to see what comes up.

I hope you find what you're looking for.

Karen Cioffi