Thoughts by Richard Bleil
At the University of Cincinnati (at least when I attended) across the road from the campus is (or was) a lovely little park. I used to enjoy going there on warm days to sit and ponder life in general. I would spend my birthdays there with a bottle of sparkling cider, brick of cheese and summer sausage to ponder the past year and think about the upcoming. (Yes, I almost always spent my birthdays alone.) One day I heard tires squealing followed by a “thud”. I went over the crest of the hill to be sure my help wasn’t needed, and there on the little road through the park I saw a brand-new 1984 Trans Am had “rear ended” a 1968 Impala. Nobody was injured, but I had to chuckle as the front end of the Trans Am, being made of fiberglass, was completely destroyed while the bumper of the Impala seemed to have had some rust knocked off of it.
None of that has anything to do with this post.
Instead I want to discuss the weeds in the park. See, one day as I entered the park and approached the large hill just past the road, I noticed that it was full of these little weeds. These weeds were the sweetest little flowers I think I’ve ever seen. Each one was a single very thin stem, bent over from the weight of the single flower on the top. The flowers were white and shaped like hearts with a base. The flowers were only a few millimeters wide, and the plants themselves couldn’t have been more than an inch high. Well, if they were straight, but like I said, they were bent over from the weight of the flower.
These sweet little flowers were “weeds”. Knowing this, though, lead me to wonder who is responsible for defining “weeds” as opposed to “flowers”. Oh, some might argue that weeds are intrusive plants that will take over areas, but the reality is that every plant is intrusive. It’s the nature of, well, nature to protect one’s own kind. All plants (and animals for that matter) compete for the same limited resources and seek advantages as they do so. So, what makes a weed a weed?
These plants were delicate and gorgeous. I can’t say how they smelled because they were so small, but they certainly brought joy to my heart when I saw them. The hill was gorgeous wearing its cloak of weeds.
I guess I’m a weed, too. Maybe that’s why I have a soft spot for weeds. How many times have people been insulted or dismissed?
The truth is that everybody is a weed in the eyes of somebody. A good friend of mine was criticized for having too many children by somebody calling them “welfare children”. The funny thing is that not only does my friend and her family take care of themselves and their children, they are the most generous and charitable people I know. But in the eyes of this ignorant and judgmental man, they are weeds.
But what beautiful flowers these weeds are.
Don’t let anybody tell you what you are. You are a beautiful person, full of potential, goodness, and heart. People who judge you can only do so through the haze of their own inadequacies and fears of their own shortcomings.
You have nobody’s expectations to live up to save your own. If you don’t feel as if you are living up to your own potential, then figure out what has to happen to do so. If you’re unhappy with who you are, then change who you are. If you haven’t accomplished what it is that you had hoped to, then accomplish it. If you are unhappy, then figure out a way to change what it is that is bringing you down.
Sometimes this kind of thing is easier said than done. I know that I have a lot of things in my life that needs to change, and, frankly, I’m struggling to figure out how I will do it. But I know that I won’t give up on myself. I have what I need to get out of this pit in which I find myself, and I will find my path once again, lost as I currently am. We, you and I, can do this together, because together, we know that we are not alone.
But the most important thing to remember is that you are beautiful, inside and out. Never let others pluck your flower!