Monday, 23 October 2017

Nature shows us we all need another chance.

This is the article first published in the York Press on Tuesday, October 17th, 2017.

Autumn in the garden can be a time for reflecting on the successes and failures in the plant world. A surprise for us in the garden this year has been the sweet peas. We plant them annually and they always produce a good show. This year they flourished in early summer, grew tall and produced long stems with buds. Then, nothing. Ninety-five percent of the flowers heads were blind. A mystery. It had never happened before. I treated the non-existent stems as ones that had flowered and picked them all. As a result, for the last six weeks there has been a steady show of flagrant blooms. A second chance and they flourished.

Gardening often teaches us life lessons. A couple of favourites are that beautiful roses thrive after being covered with manure and the frailest snowdrop pushes through the coldest ground. The sweet peas led to reflecting on my own life. There were a couple of times when I may have appeared to be blossoming, but it didn’t last long. Much later and after longer germination, better nourishment and the right conditions, I flourished. From schooldays, we are encouraged to pursue blossoming in our twenties and thirties and can often feel ‘not good enough’ if that hasn’t occurred.

This autumn, it hasn’t only been the garden which has made me think of second chances. I belong to a Women’s Service Organisation, Soroptimist International.  The Yorkshire Region has annual themes for the twenty-three clubs, which they use to create projects helping women and children. The next theme will be ‘ The Power of the Second Chance.’, a theme the local York, Selby and Scarborough clubs will be fully supporting. In therapeutic practice, I saw many people gave up too early, believing they were failures and ‘not good enough’. We should all give ourselves a second chance, even a third or fourth chance, be it with work, leisure activities, hobbies, education, relationships and health problems.

Nature shows us that to fail or not blossom the first time, doesn’t mean that a plant is doomed or a write-off for the rest of its life.

“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1 


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