A lifetime of wealth can be summed up into two words:
I’ve written before a handful of times about the nature of my group of friends. Yet, I am constantly reminded that the situation I have been blessed with is unique and too terribly uncommon. Last year was another thrumming reminder in my heart that I don’t deserve the men and women I have been blessed with. Across the board, I have managed to gather together a proverbial team of folks whose very lives inspire and push me to be a better man every day.
When I started writing this kind of content I didn’t have a goal. In essence, I wanted instead to write something that would reach someone. Every week I pounded out a word or two in regards to the life I lived and how I changed and grew. Before I started planning content this month I wanted to look back through those things and look at them once more in a new light, as my life and my world are changing rapidly I still find solace in being able to do this, to get to celebrate these people for some audience and tell you just how much they mean to me.
In a time as tumultuous as today, I make sure to find peace with the family I’ve built for myself as often as possible. With the constant reminder that tomorrow is not ours, that we have no guarantee, it has rested deep inside of my heart that I should do what I can for the people in my life as often as I can. This is a gift I see in my dearest loved ones whose daily actions demonstrate genuine love in a myriad of ways. Today, not unlike what I used to do, I want to write this to you, my reader. My hope has always been that the words I write here inspire you to grow a garden unlike any you’ve ever seen before. One with flowers that no one can describe, that no one would believe in until they see the work you handcrafted through your sweat and your desire. I hope to inspire you to do great things as I have been. I hope that in that garden you have rose bushes, and despite those thorns, each of those roses you care for as if they were part of your own heart… because they can be.
To find a friend is among the greatest thing you can do. To find someone willing to shoulder the weight of the world and borrow your burdens when you have found yourself face down in the rotten muck of this endless forest. I hope that each of you has today, or perhaps find tomorrow a group of friends that you can count on. I hope that you get to plant roses in your garden which will offer you all the things I have been offered.
Plant roses, and plant as many as you can. Not all of them will live but if you care for them, if you tend to them daily and see to their needs and wants, they will bloom and they will come to life in a way that only a bouquet of roses can do.
Plant a rose that sheds light in the darkness. One whose petals illuminate your garden as you look at the life you’ve built.
Plant a rose that guides you in the midst of strife. Whose gentle footsteps lead you in the daylight.
Plant a rose that corrects your wrongs with a gentle hand. One whose thorns you are unafraid to feel because you will need to feel them.
Plant a rose that encourages your successes. A creature in your garden who can’t be heard doing anything other than cheering for you, even in your failure.
Plant a rose with a gentle heart. A rose who will wrap itself in steel and still be soft to the touch.
Plant a rose with a strong will, who will not bend. Regardless of the storm.
Plant a rose that grows best in stormy weather, that blooms in the darkest nights. Whose stem is strong, for you to lean upon in your own storm.
Plant a rose gilded with stories and dreams and ideas that refuses to leave you alone about all the things they want to do.
Plant a rose with more thorns than leaves, and watch as it prunes itself. Understand that over time, this rose becomes you.
I’ve been told uncounted times that my friends are uncommon, that we are not a normal occurrence. We have lived through fights and distance and separation and while all of them don’t see eye to eye anymore, they are still my garden. They inspire me and hold me fast to my dreams. They are the rod that keeps my spine straight. They are the world in which I have made for myself and no distance can break that for me. While my circle is large, not all gardens must be.
To you, who feels alone, I hope that you will begin to cultivate your garden too. It is not easy work. It is disruptive and difficult, at times it can feel like a burden, but take it from me. As I’ve fallen into droughts, where I was not being fed by the life I’d made for myself, they came to support me. A garden full of roses that I do not deserve wrapped their hands around me and carried me to food, to shelter, to self-love, and they are still carrying me to this day. I own nothing that I do not owe to the garden in which I’ve been planted. Between my parents, my friends, and my incredible wife I am not alone in life and have cultivated a world in which I am supported, loved and cared for in my darkest times.
I hope that you too, cultivate a garden filled with roses. If you need somewhere to start, then know that I will listen. Even if we do not know one another. I am here, and I am alive and despite my thorns, I have been taught how to love, and how to stand strong in a storm. I have learned from my garden and I hope that you can too.
That is why I write this way each day, and what, in the end, I hope to give to you.