Monday, February 4, 2013

Overcoming Adversity: A Cup of Nothing

Today I'm participating in a blogfest hosted by fellow writer Nick Wilford, currently based in Scotland. In recent posts on his blog, Scattergun Scribblings, Nick recently shared that his stepson, Andrew, has cerebral palsy. Andrew is ready for college. Nick and his wife want to send Andrew to Beaumont College in Lancaster, an institution they feel would best accommodate Andrew's needs and interests. 

Hoping to raise funds for Andrew's college tuition, Nick is hosting a blogfest where we can share real experiences, flash fiction, or poetry about overcoming adversity. My post for today, along with the posts of other participating bloggers, will go into a special anthology and be sold through Amazon. 

I want to commend Nick for all his efforts to provide for his stepson's education and wish him lots of luck in this endeavor. 

A Cup of Nothing

This is based on a true story. This story doesn't show adversity in a way that demonstrates what most would consider genuine hardship. However, regular readers of my blog know I like to use metaphors and analogies to convey my ideas. 

When I was in elementary school, kindergarten perhaps, the teacher passed out some cups with our names etched out on the styrofoam with a ball-point pen. She directed us to fill the cups with soil and plant seeds inside. We were to gently water our cups of soil every day and watch the plants blossom.

Soon after planting the seeds, many of my classmates boasted of the little green plants growing  out of their cups. With diligence, they continued to water their cups as they happily watched their bright green friends continue to thrive. Even my classmates who didn't have plants popping out of their cups still had tiny leaves lining their soil, a promise of bigger and better things to come.

At the start of each school day, I approached my plant hoping to see some hint of growth. But nothing ever sprouted from my cup of soil. And when I say nothing, I mean NOTHING, not even a teeny tiny wisp of a leaf. Still, I watered my plant with a quiet hope that the following day, something green would greet me when I arrived to class. But the next day...still nothing.

One dark morning, in my frustration at the barren soil that housed the seeds I’d planted, I dumped a cup of water into my little styrofoam cup. The water weighed heavily in my cup and the styrofoam tore. 

That was the end of that. Better yet, that was the end of nothing.

I didn't get another cup of soil with new seeds to grow.

Years later, I received a plant as a gift. In the back of my mind, I feared this plant might shrink back into the soil because I was its caregiver.

I set the plant in the sun and gently watered it every day. And slowly, it grew. Like a yogi  reaching for the clouds, the greenery bloomed and stretched and reached out, as if it wanted to tell the world, "There's more from where this came from." 

Months after receiving the plant, I had to trim it because its leaves spread out all over my desk. 

Although nothing came from one of my endeavors, a lush green plant came from another.

Sometimes we need to give ourselves a second chance.

Have you ever given yourself a second chance with something?


Stina Lindenblatt said...

This sounds like something that would happen to me.

I often give myself a second chance at something. I mean, why not? If you don't try again, you'll never grow as a person.

Julie Dao said...

I love this story and the message it carries! When in doubt, try again!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful story and lesson to remember. I have had many garden attempts which hold the same lesson. Thanks for the reminder.

Tara Tyler said...

hears to second chances! very sweet story! i know many friends afraid to care for a plant!

Anonymous said...

LOVE this. Some people give up after the first try and really rob themselves of success. This is a great story to encourage people to try again.


Nicole said...

We all need second chances now and then. Nice entry!

karen Y. bynum said...

Thank you for sharing that! Sometimes we are very hard on ourselves...and a 2nd chance is needed. :)

Elsie The Writer said...

I absolutely love this! I could see the little you void of any plant and then years later getting your second chance and succeeding. Great story!!

Nick Wilford said...

You definitely shouldn't give up after the first try at something. Otherwise most of us wouldn't achieve much at all! Your post also shows you should focus on now, not what went wrong before. Thanks for taking part in the blogfest!

Jennifer R. Hubbard said...

With some endeavors, it's more like thirtieth chances. ;-)

M Pax said...

Great analogy. It's great to give things and ourselves multiple chances. We learn from each try.

Kelley Lynn said...

Getting a second chance and overcoming is so great! This was a great piece of work. Well done!

DL Hammons said...

My mother-in-law is always telling my son...Never give up!! Excellent addition to the blog hop! :)

Laura Marcella said...

This is a great story. We have to give ourselves a second chance because we can't always be perfect or succeed the first time we attempt something. If at first you don't succeed, try try again!!

michelle said...

It reinforces that anything in life worth having, is worth working for... so keep on trying!
Great entry.

Cynthia said...

Stina: Second chances allow room for growth.

Julie D: Thanks!

Julie L: So you know what I mean!

Tara: I was like that too before "my second chance."

Lbdiamond: Thanks!

Nicole: Thanks!

Karen: I know I can be hard on myself.

Elsie: Thanks!

Nick: It's healthy to live in the present.

Jennifer: Ah, I know what you mean!

Mary: I agree- we might learn something even if we don't get the result we want.

Kelley: Thanks!

DL: Thanks!

Laura: That's right!

Michelle: Things that are worthwhile to have don't often come easily.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

A second chance - that's a wonderful contribution! You took the idea in a fresh new direction.

David P. King said...

If you mean a perpetual second chance, all the time! Great story, Cynthia. :)

Empty Nest Insider said...

In most situations second chances are worthwhile. A most meaningful metaphor Cynthia!

Michael Pierce said...

Beautiful story. The past does not equal the future. And if the second try doesn't work...there is always a third. :)

Cynthia said...

Alex: I tried to!

David: Thanks!

Julie: Thanks!

Michael: I agree the past does not and should not equal the future.

Trisha F said...

Recently I gave myself a second chance with algebra. Still not gonna happen. haha. I seriously need to start at primary school level maths. And I think i might just do so! I'd really like to learn now what I never did learn properly back then.

Also, I am always sad when people give me plants, because I know they're going to die and I feel like a horrible plant mother.

Sally said...

We have to forget the past and learn by it and take those second chances that are offered to us.

Tamara said...

What an awesome post. Loved this. I do NOT have a green thumb and I have killed many a plant, but I've also managed to keep two thriving pothos plants for years (I swear, these plants are impossible to kill!!) haha.

Great analogy and awesome lesson to be learned here.

Louise Bates said...

Such a hopeful message here, I love it! I kill plants, too, but it hasn't stopped me from trying yet!

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