This post is a little bit unusual, and the title may be somewhat confusing until you read the story. The story comes to us from Ed Cyzewski and posted at The Art of Simple. The Blessing of an Unwilling Gift
I’ll summarize and highlight the key points because they are a little difficult to pick out in the original article.
Ed likes to garden. He has moved a few times and each time he establishes a new garden and transplants the majority of his plants to the new space. During his most recent move, he decided to part with the garden. The limits of time appear to be the driving factor behind the decision as he chose to spend more time growing a business, finishing school, and engaging with his family. It’s unclear if the new location played a factor (perhaps not allowing a garden.)
Ed had hoped to leave the garden as a gift to the new residents. He put a lot of time and energy into creating a raised garden with chipped wood walkways. Being a rental property, however, the landlord had other ideas. He asked Ed to return the backyard to the pre-garden yard that existed before Ed moved in. Ed’s dreams of a gift to the new renters were smashed as he began to disassemble the garden he lovingly created. (This is the resistant parting.)
What is the point of so much work if you aren’t able to actually hold onto it and enjoy it?
After much soul-searching and prayer, I arrived at something that felt like an answer, if not a resolution to my loss: the garden is a gift, but it’s not my gift to keep.
This quote from Ed’s article is important. Often times we gift ourselves with items, joys, or hobbies, but things change. We change, our environment changes, the people around us change. Recognize the value in the joy of these gifts as they exist in a period of time. Once that time is over, the joyful memories remain, while allowing space for new joys to enter.
As Ed began disassembling his garden, he gifted the plants to friends and neighbors. (This is the unanticipated or unwilling gift.) He was able to make the most of things at the end of his hobby, by giving one final set of gifts from the garden he loved.
The key points are these:
- Hobbies come and go as we move through life. What was once a joyful hobby may become less so over time, or may come to an end due to unforeseen circumstances in life. That’s OK! New hobbies will develop over time.
- Many things in life are temporary. Enjoy these things while you can. As those things draw to a close, don’t dwell on the loss. Instead look to the future and the joy that will come from new things, adventures, and hobbies.
- When planning to give, it may not always work out as expected. Do your best and focus on the sentiment of giving.
Remember these thoughts when downsizing or decluttering. Joy doesn’t end as you part with things or with hobbies, it simply transitions to new things, activities, and hobbies.