“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said.
A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.
It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away.
The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.”
― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
Mr. Bradbury offering some very compelling perspective.
An ideal way to describe the mission with a genuine and lasting resonance all its own.
The depth of his keen insight deserves our careful consideration.
For there is more to this grandfather’s advice than simply leaving something behind.
Far beyond making a local destination for your soul once you have been called home.
Mr. Bradbury’s wisdom is a call for a truly local level of commitment.
Beckoning us to focus our earthly energies on leaving more of ourselves in everything we do in the right here and the right now.
Redoubling our efforts in this endeavor at this very moment.
The next. And the one after that.
And become more than just lawn cutters.
To love others enough that we help them grow and blossom.
Making people, things and the moments that connect them flourish the very moment we touch them.
To willingly surrender some of ourselves as part of our earthly investment.
Leaving a lasting imprint of effort, love and commitment.
Like a gardener.
And if you can begin to look at things through those eyes, you will begin to see, understand and appreciate all of the gardening that goes on through out our lives.
In a tireless, patient and unconditionally loving effort to make sure that once it has been touched, it has been changed for the good.
That it will flourish.
And in the process, create a permanent worldly point of contact for each as well as a path for a future meeting for both.
A true gardener is committed to leaving bits of themselves throughout their work in the “here and now”.
So when it is time, and they are called home, that touch will forever remain.
Their effort, love and commitment becoming an earthly abode.
Their soul occupying those nooks and crannies in our life.
Perfectly made to be filled only by them.
Perhaps that is part of what makes this time of year so special – and in some measure – a little difficult too.
So if you are in the throes of taking stock and listing resolutions, before you get too far, think about the grandfather’s advice:
In the coming year, what choice will you make?
To touch the world around you with the hands of a gardener?
Or just cut the grass?