About ten days ago, we built three of these window boxes. By we, I mean a really, really old friend and I. And by we built, I mean, he built them and I styled them. I went to the nursery, all on my own, picked out the plants, and directed the, nice and helpful, nursery man to load them into the trunk. Oh, and I did measure some boards even though numbers aren’t really my thing. But, my friend, he did most of the work. As my friend worked and I delivered coffee and water, he made sure to remind me he was diligent in honoring my request - show the knots and cracks and most weathered and uneven parts of the boards.
After a day of carpentry and planting and drink bringing and lunch making, we finally finished. I wheeled all the way out to the sidewalk and looked at these beautiful window boxes and started to cry. I didn’t cry because I was so tired from measuring and math, nor did I continue to cry because I am such a sap and things like window boxes make me sob. No, I cried because these once discarded and weathered pallet boards were, now, stunning window boxes that would make Joanna Gaines proud.
These tears recalled so many hard years when I wasn’t sure who I was or what I was doing. So many hard years when I struggled to believe I was still the same person in this broken body. So many years when I thought the only way to power through this new challenge was to assume I was a bad person before and needed a jolt in order to become a new and good person. But, this way of thinking, this idea that we were once bad and need to see a tragedy as a gift is just wrong. Just so wrong.
Bad things happen to good people all of the time. And I am not saying I was the pillar of a good person. But, I was a real person. A twenty-one year old person with all kinds of knots and flaws and cracks. I don’t need to twist and turn my accident into some magical change of life; it just happened. Accidents and losses and tragedies are just part of the human experience. The good thing, though, is - this human experience - celebrates all of these crashes and burns. The human experience teaches us we are most beautiful when we are pieced back together and aren’t afraid to show off our knots and cracks and bruises and scars.