People tell you that to succeed in life you need to work hard. People tell you that to succeed in life you need to strive for improvement, to develop skills. Work hard. Do your best.
There is some truth in that.
But you know me, I don’t always believe what people tell me. And honestly, sometimes it’s good not to be good at things. Sometimes it’s worth not worrying and just seeing what life brings you. Sometimes not striving is the thing to do . Because sometimes life brings you Accidental Potatoes.
“What are Accidental Potatoes?” you might be wondering?
They aren’t some fancy new breed of potatoes.
(When I was a kid we went to a church sale, and after the cakes and jam, there was an auction. At the auction, my Dad bought a box of records. I got all excited because I thought it was a box of musical albums to listen to (me being old enough that my childhood listening came from black vinyl records and not CDS or iPods.) It turned out the records weren’t the musical kind, but potatoes. I was very disappointed. So it’s an ironic turn of events that potatoes got me excited today.)
Oh, yes. Accidental Potatoes.
We have a compost bin in our garden. We’ve never learned how to use it properly – we just put our vegetable waste in it. It turns into compost. We spread the compost on the garden. We forget to get around to planting flowers, and the herbs that we planted years ago keep growing up again by themselves. I am possibly the world’s second-worst gardener, though I have a feeling many other people would claim that title. So I’ll say I’m the world’s second= worst gardener. And ssh, don’t tell him I said this, but guess who is (probably) the Number 1 worst gardener? Okay, he’s better at mowing the lawn than I am though, I admit it. (I have a sore shoulder.)
So anyway, that’s how you get Accidental Potatoes. I am thankful for them. I am thankful for the lesson they teach me, for how they show me that perhaps I don’t need to spend too much time fretting about life and just allow nature to weave its magic. Life gets along fine whether I try to be in charge of it or not. That thing Jesus said all those years ago comes to mind. The thing about lilies.
Here it is: “Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.“
I didn’t understand that when I was a kid. But even if this is about clothes rather than food, the message is the same. Don’t worry, just relax, and the sun will come up in the morning again.
We humans sometimes think that we need to be in control. If we don’t look after the world, who will? Yet, we haven’t made much of a job of looking after it have we? As James Kenny explains, in Chernobyl: Life After Death, even when we humans make a total mess of things, animals and plant life adapt and carry on just fine.
I’m thankful for that. It takes some of the guilt off my shoulders. Sure, I didn’t cause Chernobyl, so I don’t feel personally responsible for it – but we all contribute to this human over-consumption, this lack of care. Even if I compost and recycle, and reuse, and walk to the supermarket and take my groceries home in a backpack instead of a carrier bag, I still sit here hitting keys made of plastic and metal, which are not renewal materials. And who suffered so that I could do this typing? I’ve read that computer manufacturers and silicon production companies aren’t always kind to their workers. But I still buy and use computers. One man tried to find an ethical smart phone, and discovered it didn’t exist. I still use a smart phone. (Though mine is a way out of date hand-me-down from my husband.)
I am thankful for the people who work in the silicon and computer components industries. Without their willingness, I could not write this, and you could not read it.
I’ve drifted a long way from this post’s flippant beginning, and the truth is there is room both for flippancy and consideration in life. Sometimes in the saddest moments of life, laughter also exists – I noticed this in the days after my lovely father’s death a year ago.
So I’ll finish now by saying that I’m thankful my older daughter got back safely and happy after 3 days of wild camping and canoeing down a river. (Part of the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme, which also includes voluntary work, learning skills and doing exercise. So a good thing all round.)
Finally, after I’d been digging up Accidental Potatoes I made a cup of tea and set it on my desk. Then I got distracted by weeds and cats (as you do.) I came back for a drink, and I’m thankful that I before I took a gulp of my tea, I had a look in my mug.
It was quite a good swimmer.
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