A little girl came to live with her grandfather after the death of her parents. The elderly man farmed the land as he had from his youth and was known far and wide for the most delicious crops. He walked and talked kindness to all, including his granddaughter. He loved telling her about farming.
“Now this plant is one that needs lots of water under that hot old sun,” he would tell her as he pointed to a certain crop. Or he might tell her, “This plant is a weed that we must watch out for and pluck up as soon as possible, or it will take seed and take over the garden,” Of course his favorite saying was, “Life is just like farming — you always reap what you sow.”
The girl listened intently as her grandfather spoke about farming. His deep, robust voice always turned gentle as he talked about the earth and the rain and the growing season.
“The land is just as alive as the plants and flowers,” he would tell her. “It needs food and water, too, or nothing will grow from it.”
As they huddled by the fire on cold December days, he would encourage her with the words, “Winter may seem to last forever, but just remember that spring is a ‘coming and the land will soon awaken.”
One day the grandfather died, and the local authorities put her in an orphanage in the middle of a city a hundred miles away from her beloved farmland.
At first she was afraid of all the noise and smells of the city and of the rough, calloused children at the orphanage. She cried herself to sleep for a week before she remembered her grandfather’s words about weeds and how they need plucking as soon as possible or they will take over a garden. She realized her self-pity was taking over like weeds.
Suddenly it dawned on her that all of the knowledge and sayings her grandfather taught her could apply to the orphanage. The next day she awoke to find new ways to use her grandfather’s wisdom. She looked around and saw a very shy child who the other children often made fun of.
Now this plant is one that needs lots of water under that hot old sun, the girl heard her grandfather’s voice in her mind. She went over to the child and started to make a new friend.
As she looked closer at everyone in the orphanage, she saw how many needed love and attention, despite their gruff or rough exteriors. She remembered her grandfather saying, The land is just as alive as the plants and flowers. It needs food and water, too, or nothing will grow from it.
She was soon reading favorite stories to the children, soothing frightened youngsters during lightning storms, helping newcomers adjust, acting as referee for the boys’ rough-housing games, and comforting anyone with a bruised shin, broken nose, or heavy heart.
Sometimes it was her heart that grew heavy, but she comforted herself with these words, Winter may seem to last forever, but just remember that spring is a ‘coming and the land will soon awaken.
With the patience she learned from her grandfather and farming, she kept up her efforts for many months. Eventually she noticed a stirring of souls within the orphanage, not unlike the first signs of spring. The older kids slowly started to take care of the younger ones, adult caretakers became a little softer and gentler as the kids changed, and everyone began to feel a kinship they had never known before at the orphanage.
Several years later, when it came time to leave the orphanage, the little girl had grown into a vibrant and energizing young woman. Because of her, the orphanage had been transformed over the years into a welcoming family. Both children and adults wept to see her go, but her leadership and ability to work with people had landed her a job with a huge charity that worked mainly in agricultural areas. She was going back home again. As she walked out the doors of the orphanage and saw just how much the place had changed, she heard her grandfather’s words again, Life is just like farming — you reap what you sow.
-- Merry Riana (Motivational Speaker)