Plant Flowers - A Pastoral Note from Jenny

β€œπ™„ 𝙖𝙒 π™©π™π™š π™œπ™§π™šπ™–π™©π™šπ™¨π™©, 𝙄 π™¨π™–π™žπ™™ 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 π™šπ™«π™šπ™£ π™—π™šπ™›π™€π™§π™š 𝙄 π™ π™£π™šπ™¬ 𝙄 𝙬𝙖𝙨.”

- π™ˆπ™ͺ𝙝𝙖𝙒𝙒𝙖𝙙 π˜Όπ™‘π™ž.

Dear friends,Β 

This week I have been reflecting a lot on the art of positivity. I have not done any proper research on the topic, however, positivity seems to be different in my mind to optimism. Where optimism is a belief that things are ok and will be ok, positivity seems to require something more of an effort.

I am naturally an optimist. I have an almost unerring belief that everything will turn out fine, that all people are innately good and striving to be even better, that I can indeed have my cake and eat it too. On the other hand, positivity requires me to do more than trust or believe. It requires me to take action - to intentionally both think and behave positively.

As this year has started, I will admit to finding my natural optimism waning at times. It can be hard to stay optimistic during a pandemic. It can be difficult to believe everything will turn out fine when it seems to take so much energy, and so much just is not fine. Tragedy piles on top of tragedy, and my positive mindset as an optimist has been getting cloudier.

I came across a cartoon recently. In it two characters are having a conversation. It goes as follows:

β€œAren’t you terrified of what 2022 could be like? Everything is so messed up…”

The second quickly responds with, β€œI think it will bring flowers.”

β€œYes? WHY?”

β€œBecause I’m planting flowers.”

And that is the positivity that increasingly I am feeling I need to bring into 2022. I know for a fact that I will not be able to control everything that happens this year. In fact, most of what happens will be well beyond my control. However, there are some things I can influence. And if that is so, I want my influence to be positive. I will plant β€˜flowers.’ I will plant kind words and generous actions. I will plant belief and support. I will plant care, compassion, and grace. And I will plant love.

Whilst I plant these β€˜flowers,’ I recognise I don’t even have control over whether they will germinate and grow. Yet I have faith that these seeds I plant are tended by God. I hope that I will get to see the flowers blossom, yet even if I don’t, I will have gained something myself: a mindset that what I choose to do, how I choose to live, the impact I choose to make will make a difference in the lives of others and in the world.

Paraphrasing Muhammad Ali, β€œThis year is the greatest, I say that even before I know it is.” Why do I know this? Because I am planting flowers to make it the greatest. I also hope that if there are times through this year when I am too tired to plant flowers, you might plant some for me. Mostly, however, I hope we can plant together so that this year will bring many flowers.

Blessings and Peace,