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The Daffodil Principle
 
Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, "Mother, you must come see
the daffodils before they are over." I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour
drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead. "I will come next Tuesday, " I promised,
a little reluctantly, on her third call. Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy.

Still, I had promised, and so I drove there. When I finally walked into
Carolyn's house and hugged and greeted my grandchildren, I said, "Forget the
daffodils, Carolyn! The road is invisible in the clouds and fog, and there is
nothing in the world except you and these children that I want to see bad
enough to drive another inch!" My daughter smiled calmly and said, "We drive
in this all the time, Mother." 

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

"I was hoping you'd take me over to the garage to pick up my car." "How far
will we have to drive?" "Just a few blocks," Carolyn said. "I'll drive. I'm
used to this." After several minutes, I had to ask, "Where are we going? This
isn't the way to the garage!"
 
"We're going to my garage the long way," Carolyn smiled, "by way of the
daffodils." "Carolyn," I said sternly, "please turn around." "It's all right,
Mother, 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 that
read, "Daffodil Garden." We got out of the car and each took a child's hand,
and I followed Carolyn down the path. Then, 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. There were five acres of flowers. "But who has done this?" I asked
Carolyn. 

"It's just one woman," Carolyn answered. "She lives on the property. That's
her home." Carolyn 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. On the
patio, we saw a poster. "Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking" was
the headline. 

The first answer was a simple one."50,000 bulbs," it read. The second answer
was, "One at a time, by one woman. Two hands, two feet, and very little
brain." The third answer was, "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 forty years
before, had begun-one bulb at a time-to bring her vision of beauty and joy to
an obscure mountain top. Still, just planting one bulb at a time, year after
year, had changed the world. This unknown woman had forever changed the world
in which she lived. She had created something of ineffable (indescribable)
magnificence, beauty, and inspiration. The principle her daffodil garden
taught is one of the greatest principles of celebration. That is, learning to
move toward our goals and desires one step at a time-often just one baby-step
at a time-and 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 Carolyn. "What might I have
accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five or forty 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 usual direct way. "Start tomorrow," she said. It's
so pointless to think of the lost hours of yesterdays. The way to make
learning a lesson of celebration instead of a cause for regret is to only ask,
"How can I put this to use today?" 
Author unknown
 
We convince ourselves that life will be better after we get married, have a
baby, then another. Then we are frustrated that the kids aren't old enough and
we'll be more content when they are. After that, we're frustrated that we have
teenagers to deal with. We will certainly be happy when they are out of that
stage. 
We tell ourselves that our life will be complete when our spouse gets his or
her act together, when we get a nicer car, when we are able to go on a nice
vacation, or when we retire. The truth is there's no better time to be happy
than right now. If not now, when? Your life will always be filled with
challenges. It's best to admit this to yourself and decide to be happy anyway.
Happiness is the way. So, treasure every moment that you have and treasure it
more because you shared it with someone special, special enough to spend your
time with... and remember that time waits for no one. 
So, stop waiting... Until your car or home is paid off Until you get a new car
or home Until your kids leave the house Until you go back to school Until you
finish school Until you lose 10 lbs. Until you gain 10 lbs. Until you get
married Until you get a divorce Until you have kids Until you retire Until
summer Until spring Until winter Until fall Until you die 
There is no better time than right now to be happy. Happiness is a journey,
not a destination. So work like you don't need money, Love like you've never
been hurt, And, dance like no one's watching. 

- Crystal Boyd, 1998

 
rowland @ johnmarkministries . org
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