Tuesday, April 07, 2009

start now

My dear friend, Inga-Lill Guzik, sent this to me today. I love the message behind this woman's actions. Read to the bottom, and then ask yourself, "What can I start doing today that will create beauty for someone?"

The Daffodil Principle
by Jaroldeen Asplund Edwards

Several times my daughter, Julie, had telephoned to say, "Mom, you must come see the daffodils before they are over." I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from my place by the beach to her lakeside mountain home.

"I will come next Tuesday," I promised, a little reluctantly, on her third call. The next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had promised, and so I got in the car and began the long, tedious drive.

When I finally walked into Julie's house and hugged and greeted my grandchildren, I said, "Forget the daffodils, Julie! The road is invisible in the clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and the children that I want to see bad enough to drive another inch!"

My daughter smiled calmly, "We drive in this all the time, Mom."

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

"Gee, Mom, I was hoping you'd take me over to the garage to pick up my car," Julie said with a forlorn look in her eyes.

"How far will we have to drive?"

Smiling she answered, "Just a few blocks, I'll drive ... I'm used to this."

After several minutes on the cold, foggy road, I had to ask "Where are we going? This isn't the way to the garage!"

"We're going to the garage the long way," Julie smiled, "by way of the daffodils."

"Julie," I said sternly, "please turn around."

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

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 ... "Daffodil Garden." We got out of the car and each took a child's hand, and I followed Julie down the path. As we turned a corner of the path, and 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 down over the mountain peak and slopes. The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns, great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, saffron, and butter yellow. Each different-colored variety was planted as a group so that it swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue. Five acres of the most beautiful flowers I had ever seen!

"Who planted all these?" I asked Julie.

"It's just one woman," Julie answered, "She lives on the property. That's her home," and she pointed to a well-kept A-frame house that looked small and modest in the midst of all that glory.

We walked up to the house and on the little patio we saw a poster:

Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking :
50,000 bulbs
one at a time
by one woman
2 hands, 2 feet
and very little brain
Began in 1958

There it was ... "The Daffodil Principle."

For me that moment was a life-changing experience. I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, more than thirty-five years before, had begun - one bulb at a time - to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountain top.
Still, this unknown, old woman had forever changed the world in which she lived. She had created something of magnificent beauty, and inspiration.

The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principles of celebration: learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time, (often just one baby-step at a time) learning to love the doing, learning to use the accumulation of time When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world.

"It makes me sad in a way," I admitted to Julie, "What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five 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 direct way, "Start tomorrow, Mom," she said, "It's so pointless to think of the lost hours of our yesterdays. The way to make learning a lesson a celebration instead of a cause for regret is to only ask, "How can I put this to use today?"


8 Comment:

At 4/08/2009 7:55 AM, Anonymous Pam D. had this to say ...

That's so beautiful, Shannon, and really hits home with me on a lot of levels. I've been thinking lately how much my mood is affected by color (especially as I sit at work, staring at faded ugly walls)and how I'm trying to surround myself in it. But I want to surround others with the beauty of the Lord, too. Also, I've been praying so much for direction in my life, feeling like so much has passed me by and there has to be so much more God can do with the creative gifts and dreams He's put in me. This story really inspires and encourages me today. Hope things are going well with you!

At 4/08/2009 9:51 AM, Blogger Kim had this to say ...

I can picture that mountainside. How beautiful and so inspiring!

At 4/09/2009 8:03 AM, Blogger opalina124 had this to say ...

I love this story. I read it years ago in Reader's Digest and then I was surprised to find it in a book I bought at a used book sale, Things I Wish I'd Known. Thanks for sharing it- it was great to read it again - so inspiring to just do something even if you have to start small.

At 4/09/2009 8:53 AM, Blogger lisaham.oregon had this to say ...

Shannon, thank you for posting this story. It is inspiring. In fact, I'm going to shut down my computer and go "plant a few bulbs" of my own!

At 4/20/2009 8:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous had this to say ...

I copied and sent this to 4 of my old college girlfriends (most of us grew up in Los angeles area). One of them just emailed me back that she has been there to see these daffodils and that it is near Lake Arrowhead! I can't believe I've never seen it. Didn't know if you knew where it was, but since you go to So. Calif a lot I thought I'd mention it. :) Here I thought it was somewhere over in Europe or something...

At 4/20/2009 8:20 AM, Anonymous Pam D had this to say ...

It just came thru as anonymos, but that was from me... Lake Arrowhead

At 4/20/2009 8:45 AM, Blogger Shannon had this to say ...

Hi Pam! Funny ... wonder why it came through as anonymous? Glad you wrote back. :)

I didn't realize this was near Lake Arrowhead. Sure wish I could see it some time, but the article that accompanied my friend's email said that this was the last year they were open to the public. Guess I missed my chance!

Hope God is giving you some direction as to how you can use your gifts and dreams. Come back and let me know, okay? :)

Hi, Opalina and Lisa. :) Lisa, what you wrote echoed what I was thinking after I posted this. I shut off my laptop and got busy with my day. Some days it drains the life right out of me, you know?

At 6/26/2009 5:26 PM, Anonymous Monica had this to say ...

Wow. It reminds me to pray Psalm 90:12 once again: Teach us to number our days...
and I will start (again), now.


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