Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas
There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love. Bryant H. McGill
On Tuesday I went with a friend to our Horticultural Christmas meeting. We haven’t met in person for almost two years. We didn’t have any guests – not even a guest speaker, but one of the members put together a slide show of what’s been happening with the society and its plantings since 2019. A member was gifted a collection of garden books and brought in the ones she didn’t want, and they were on sale for a dollar.
Beautiful hardcover books, I bought four, and one of them is Tasha Tudor’s Garden. You may know who Tasha Tudor was but I did not. She was an eccentric children’s book illustrator who died in 2008. She was as famous for her eccentric way of living as her illustrating. She lived as if it was the 1830’s. She grew her own flax, weaving it into linen, she grew the wheat for her bread, milked goats, and according to reports was very self-sufficient. She chose to live this way, she was born wealthy, married, had children, divorced, remarried, and left an estate of two million dollars at age 92.
In a day I learned a lot about Tasha Tudor, she sounds like an amazing eccentric woman who lived life on her own terms. When she died she left almost all of her estate to one son and the other three children battled over the estate for two years coming to an agreement just before it was to head to court. It seems to me, one’s will is one way to put all of our children on an even footing. It might not be true that the one that receives the bulk of the estate was favored but it looks that way to anyone looking on and especially the other children.
Coming from a family where fairness was the order of the day. When we were given candies as a child each one got the same amount. When you come from a big family, parents have to work harder to be fair. If you put the chips or candies in a bowl the big kids would get all of it.
I don’t think wills are a time to equalize things between children. Betty did better in life so she doesn’t need anything, but Jimmy hasn’t so we’ll give it to him. All that does is destroy any relationship Betty and Jimmy have after you are gone.
People disappoint us. Tasha Tudor and Thomas Kinkade haven’t lived up to the way their life was portrayed. There is a cautionary tale for all of us, we can only control people’s perception of us to some degree and I understand one of the quotes Tasha Tudor quoted was Mark Twain’s, “We are all like the moon with a dark side no one sees.”
It is a good thing to realize that no matter how well we know someone we don’t know everything about them, even people we live with surprise us. We are much more complex, no one is all good, or all bad. We tend to idealize the famous as if they figured things out better than we have. We all struggle in life, we all have weaknesses and strengths, and there is not a perfect one among us. We do well to remember that no matter how much we think we know about someone it isn’t everything, and what we don’t know could surprise us and change our view of them. What we don’t know about ourselves can change our view of ourselves, and we have to forgive ourselves and others for not being perfect.
We do have a dark side, some call it our shadow, and some call it the devil. One of the problems with idealizing someone is we often don’t see or acknowledge all of them. Idealization is putting them on a pedestal, we don’t do well on pedestals, and when we fall off that pedestal which we probably will because we are human. Someone who only wanted perfect us may forever be disillusioned. Is it a bad thing to lose an illusion we never should have had in the first place?
No one in this world is pure and perfect. If you avoid people for their mistakes, you will be alone in this world, so judge less and love more. Unknown
Many of us are ashamed of our imperfections, we wish we were perfect, but the character doesn’t come from perfection. I think it comes from dealing with our imperfections in a positive way. When we say a smile, floor, or antique has character we mean it has flaws but is still beautiful. When we talk of people with character often they have overcome things in positive ways and this is how they developed character. They become strong in the broken places, they overcome adversity, and they get up more often than they fell down.
One of my favorite quotes is, “Perfection is enemy of the good.” We can be good people, parents, employees, business people, citizens, sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, friends, but we will not be perfect and that has to be okay because it is what it is. We will always have problems in life if we can’t accept the reality of what is. If it is, then that’s what we have to deal with, not what we want to deal with, but what is there to be dealt with.
Growing up on a farm was a lesson in reality. The weather didn’t always cooperate, animals died, prices rose and fell. Mom and Dad always said anyone could make money on paper, but dealing with the realities that life hands you can eliminate that paper profit in a hurry.
One of the important lessons in life is to persevere because perseverance is what often leads to success. Talent is great, luck is nice, but perseverance is when you don’t give up when things aren’t going your way. Perseverance gets us through the hard times to the good times. There are always good times ahead, followed by bad times. If we can’t get through the bad, we don’t get to the good. If we only want people in our lives when we think they are perfect, when they are on the pedestal we put them on, they will not be part of our lives forever. Something will happen to shatter our illusion, an illusion we should never have had.
Are we okay when our prince becomes a frog, our princess becomes a nag, our passion becomes work, or our job becomes a drag? If we can’t live with the realities of life, we will become disillusioned and bitter, but if we accept ourselves and others, warts and all we will continue to see the beauty and character in others as they and we become antiques.
There is a practice called Kintsugi or Kinsukuroi (golden repair or joinery) the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. As a philosophy, this treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.
This is a great metaphor for life and something we should do in our relationships. If we can mend our broken relationships we can make them even better and more valuable than they were. Perhaps this is why a golden anniversary is fifty years. By then any relationship has gone through many stages and if it has reached this stage the fractures are mended with gold. If we are lucky enough to have long relationships many of them are probably Kintsugi relationships, it wasn’t that there weren’t any problems, fractures, or brokenness, but that we mended them with the gold of forgiveness and acceptance.
A relationship gets stronger when both of you are willing to understand mistakes and forgive each other. Unknown
Forgiveness is the oil of relationships. Josh McDowell
Whatever you’ve done before, accept it and let it go. You are not perfect. You are capable of making mistakes. Stop hiding from the shadows of the past. Don’t be trapped in the darkness of shattered memories. Let the light pass through and shine upon you. Forgive yourself because it’s the only way to start again. Unknown
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