Monday, August 5, 2013

Interruption versus Invitation

My son had the strange pleasure of being invited to a girls birthday party after a string of action-themed birthday parties.  Take months of transformers and action hero themed decor, cakes, and goody bags and place them next to a party with every utensil, napkin, inch of frosting a bright pink.  It was quite a shock for him and he quickly slipped into the zone.  The sort of zone where people let him continue to play musical chairs after he has lost in previous rounds.  He was able to find solace in a toy he found from another room. It was a pink Hello Kitty remote controlled car.

Among all the girly vibe, he was a lost little boy who clung on to one thing reminding him of what he found fun and adventurous.

Contrast his pink experience of interruption to the event that happened this morning.  It has actually happened many mornings, and it all started with a seed.

At the beginning of the year, I was laying out different seeds for this years garden.  It is a common practice after 5 years of gardening, but this year I decided to include my son and daughter in the early stages of the process.  They looked at my seed inventory and both agreed they'd love to grow corn, and to be specific, corn intended to become popcorn.

I had grown corn for popcorn for a couple years, but they were new to every stage of the process from seed to sprout.  They often daily asked, "Is it done yet?", just after the corn seeds were planted.  A gardeners work is really never done and they watched the plant disappear to shoot out of the dirt and spring up with it's slender and long green leaves.  Each week it added inches to it's stature and my son and daughter made sure the plants were well watered.

In time, we took the best of the indoor corn plants and set them out in a row on the side of garden near the middle of the yard.  They soon learned to see how the outdoor corn plants were doing by daily walking through the garden.  Each new day if I decided to do a walk, I would always extend an invitation to my kids, and they would accept most invitations.

My son would toss on his sandals and see how the corn plants grew from being as high as his knees to a height beyond his reach even while on his tippy toes.  Then his visits revealed the plant could grow even taller than me, which was about the time the corn plants flowered.  He watched bees comb through the flowers with the yellow powdery sacks on their legs and soon he saw the fruits of pollination.  The corn grew from in between the stalk and leaf.  Once the silky tops progressed from a faint green to a rusty brown, he could take ear of corn indoors.  We set the corn on a window sill to harden in the sun and we are currently waiting for our first seed-to-seed bowl of popcorn.

I've experienced the interruption versus invitation contrast several times when working on creative projects. There are times where I fall into circles with people who are more experienced and have more resources than I do.  Some are more graceful about it.  Others use their track record to remind me of the distance between us.  My presence, to them, is more of an interruption.

I am reminded to put those experiences in context with the other experiences where I'm handed a blank canvas, blank check, a new opportunity, or new relationship.  The newness of the experience demands my presence and is even made better by it with some effort.  It is an open invitation to not be afraid of the future and to work, love and enjoy life.  These are the experience we write stories of and live for.