• Jennie Denney

Responding to Disappointments


I didn't just want a garden this year, I wanted the works. Cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, and zucchini...we live in Southern California, after all, where EVERYTHING grows.


I had these card-board-biodegradable containers I wanted to try growing the seeds in, so I carefully measured out the soil, placed 2-3 seeds in each container, lovingly covered up the seeds, wondering out loud to myself, which one would be the one to sprout. I then labeled each container, watered each one, and placed them outside in the raised planters where the garden I had last year was, on the side of the house.


I was excited and hopeful. It was so fun having a garden last year! The tomatoes were amazing, the pole-beans a hit...and even though that's about all that grew, I wanted so badly to try again this year. This time I would plant more tomatoes and be extra careful with the cucumbers and bell peppers...since those two were the ones that never sprouted.


A few hours later, I realized the dog was nowhere around. I called throughout the house, but I received no response. I realized soon enough, he had been outside by himself for quite some time, which was odd and unusual for him. As he meandered to the back door to let me know he was ready to come in, I noticed he had quite a bit of dirt on his face. Then it hit me. My garden. My seeds. All that time spent. Ooooh, shoot.


There I was, dreading what I knew I would find, yet knowing I needed to see for myself, slowly making the journey over to the side-yard to scope out the damage.


It was worse than I thought. Every single one of my carefully filled, planted, covered, watered, whispered over, biodegradable pots had been ripped to shreds. That is when I realized I probably will not have the kind of garden I was hoping for this year.


No matter how hard we plan, strategize, nit-pick, dream, and wish, if things don't turn out the way we imagined it can be quite disappointing. The beauty of it all is that this is exactly the moment I can either choose to wallow in the disappointment, stay frustrated and agonize over those seeds I wanted so desperately to take root, and resign myself to the thought of never having a garden again because of my dog, or I can take some time to lament, and then laugh it off and wonder if maybe those seeds that were scattered over the garden area will sprout on their own.


Yes, it was disappointing and discouraging, but I can't help but wonder what will end up growing? Maybe the garden will be even more beautiful than I imagined or maybe it will be a complete fail (I'm guessing it will probably be the later, but I can still hope and if it does end up being a fail, I'll go through this process again).


In the end, though, what matters is how I choose to respond to the disappointments I encounter. I can choose to ignore my feelings and pretending everything is just fine; I can crumple myself into a puddle and forever give up on gardening; or I can admit to myself that I am disappointed, sit there for a bit and allow myself to feel and process through those feelings, and then I can go back out there, clean up the mess the dog made and look for something beautiful hidden within the disappointment.



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