today's grace

It's become part of my morning routine, this staring out the sliding glass doors at the day. I watch the clouds move in the sky and the squirrels munch on berries. One hand holding my coffee, the other splays on the glass, curious about and sensing the day's temperature.

This morning, I was looking out the doors at my plants. The ones I planted a couple of months ago. They're dying. And our podocarpus hedge? Not growing. In a split second, I went from basking in a new day's hopes and new mercies to beating myself up, feeling like a failure. Guilt descended on me. The negative self-talk began: You're a failure as a gardener. You suck at time management. Sure, it's a dry season, but you could have watered more. Fertilized more. And this backyard project? It's ridiculous that you haven't finished it yet. Some homemaker you are. You haven't even done a real grocery shopping in weeks … let alone prepared a real meal … And it went on, just a few seconds of "you are crap" stream of consciousness and I was now beginning my day defeated.

But you know what? There's grace in our failures. We're allowed to fail. Everyone does. Maybe you need to hear that today ... YOU ARE ALLOWED TO FAIL. 'Cause here's the thing: We can't do it all. We weren't meant to. The world tells us to be pieces and parts of who we're not. It tells us to bring our A-game no matter the exam content, when, in reality, a civil engineer is just not going to nail an essay on symbolism in Hawthorne's "Ethan Brand."

I love green stuff. Flowers. Plants. Wide open fields. Heavy wooded spaces. I love it. And I find a lot of peace and joy in planting things and watching them grow … but right now, busy with full-time work and full-time school and a part-time internship, I can't be a good gardener. I can't expect to be. I have to be okay with this "failure" … because that's not what it is. That's not who I am.

It's not who YOU are.