While I feel strongly that we need to be cognizant of the implications wrought by our political sphere, it’s time to return to the sunny side of life. Don’t you agree?
Over the past few years, “Bloom where you are planted” has become one of my favorite sayings. This is because up until the past decade, I never imagined a scenario in which I lived out my entire life here in my home state. I was positive that at some point, we’d be moving on. We considered it more than once, but various obligations induced us to stay put, and now we’re happy to do so. There comes a time in life when you mature and see that you have what you always wanted, and pipe dreams give way to attainable goals. We replaced speculative discontentment with determined gratitude.
My recent post, in which I shared recent vacation photos, caused this idiom to bubble up to the surface of my consciousness again. As I often do when an expression captures my attention, I began exploring the origins and meanings of this particular idiom, beyond the obvious. We have certainly learned to bloom where we are planted, for which I am grateful! I still wondered, however, who first coined this phrase and to what degree should it be embraced so that “blooming” doesn’t turn into “getting stuck”?
To get to the point, as far as I can surmise, the saying “bloom where you’re planted”, is most often attributed to Saint Francis de Sales, The Bishop of Geneva (1567-1622). The exact quote is as follows:
Truly charity has no limit; for the love of God has been poured into our hearts by His Spirit dwelling in each one of us, calling us to a life of devotion and inviting us to bloom in the garden where He has planted and directing us to radiate the beauty and spread the fragrance of His Providence.
That’s the oldest recorded mention of this particular expression, but there are various iterations on record. One of my absolute favorite (though not an exact quote), is attributed to Charles Haddon Spurgeon:
He who does not serve God where he is would not serve God anywhere else.
My inarticulate restatement of that is along the lines of:
She who cannot be content where she is will not suddenly be content anywhere else.
One of the things I like to tell the restless, wandering souls who desperately believe they will find greener grass on the other side is this (and yes, I know it’s neither new nor original):
Wherever you go sweetie, there you are.
As I researched this particular idiom, Bloom Where You’re Planted, I found several sources that referenced an article written by the late, great Paul Harvey in which he used the phrase. I have looked diligently for it. My Google-fu is pretty weak, but I can usually find what I’m looking for eventually. It’s been a week and I haven’t found it, so it is with heavy heart that I forge ahead and follow this trail to completion.
Along this path, I found an article written by a man who advocated blooming where you are planted (’cause life, man!), but without making the mistake of getting stuck if you are genuinely planted outside of your natural soil. While I have contentedly -happily, even- learned to bloom where I am planted as it becomes increasingly unlikely that I’ll be going anywhere, this guy offers a different take. I think he’s fairly insightful:
So how does this translate for us? How are we to bloom where we are planted? How are we to thrive in our lives if we are living in “too shady” or “too dry” a setting? It is fair to say that we all have different versions of how we would like to live. For some, the intensity and vibrancy of a metropolitan lifestyle is essential for happiness. For others, clearly a more rural, small-town setting is where they feel more comfortable.
Is it that we are pre-wired for our spot in the “garden” of our life? Do we all have some “type” some “hard wiring” at birth that determines where we will “bloom?” What if that were true? What then becomes of the small town, mountain-loving, rural “type” if they are “planted” in the city? Can they ever feel at peace? Can they ever truly bloom?
I don’t know where the ultimate wisdom lies. Perhaps, it really comes down to two things. Bloom where you are planted, BUT you better know who you are and understand that if you are “country” living in city, or “city” planted in the “country” you might want to make a change and get to the sunnier side of the garden.
I think he has a point, and a good one, but I still believe that it is incumbent upon each of us to find reasons to live life of joyful gratitude and cultivate fruitful relationships wherever we are.
I mean, for all we know, we could be dead tomorrow, and do we really want to expend our last moment in a state of ingratitude? Keep on the sunny side of life!