"The people who are the most successful hear the most 'no's'." That is something I read recently in a collection of excerpts about writing. In other words, the people who are the most successful are those who keep going and keep trying, even when they have been turned down, turned away, and failed in their mission.
Yesterday morning my husband went outside and came back in to inform me that only two of our twelve tomatoes had survived the night. I immediately threw my hands up in the air and informed him that we shouldn't have a garden. It wouldn't work. I have no idea what I am doing and I do not want to expend my time and energy on it. I could tell by his reaction that he was surprised and disappointed. Giving up is not how I usually deal with failure.
But I was feeling pretty defeated. I realized I had planted our tomatoes too early a couple weeks ago when they started to outgrow the little pots and there was still frost on the ground. Yet I was determined to go forward. So we plotted the garden, tilled it, and stuck the baby tomato plants in the ground Saturday afternoon. And, of course, just like most our well-wishing, good-meaning neighbors had warned us, all of them froze except the two that had been covered by ice chests instead of buckets that night.
My husband's surprise and disappointment in my poor attitude made me pause and recognize something. I actually, truthfully, did not want to do any gardening. My heart was prepared to give up at the first failure or even the first sign of failing. How silly. This garden is only a few months of commitment to a healthy way of living. I mean, there is nothing more wholesome than working up a sweat, outdoors, while you grow vegetables.
I walked outside to inspect the damage and gaze upon ten deceased plants that I had carefully watered and tended for the last few weeks.
We all hate failure. Sometimes, when we really love something, like I love writing, we are excited to put in the hard work. We are too determined to be defined by failures and we have already told ourselves that no matter what we are going to pick ourselves off the ground and keep going.
I have thrown in the towel about a lot of things in life, but perhaps for all of those things I never prepared my mind and heart to keep going beyond the failures.
So, here I go. I'm going to garden. Even if this year is an epic failure, I will learn and try again. And again. Gardening is something healthy and wholesome to add to my family's life and I am going to make it happen. So there.
Perhaps the best gardener is the one who has killed the most plants.
Is there something you wished you had not given up? Maybe the key to success is to be ready to fail and to keep going anyways.
Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.
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"...and God was already there with me."