A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.
Sir Frances Bacon
Yesterday I carefully teased apart and planted the strawberry starts I had purchased at the local nursery. My previous strawberry bed had become a wasteland of sticks and leaves and dried up remains of hard thimble-sized red things I could not bring myself to put to my mouth even when fresh because disappointment never tastes sweet. I wasn’t sorry to pull the scraggly things out, vines tangling into leftover pansies. It was satisfying to thump the excess dirt off of them, to make room for the new pot o’possibilities I was working with.
It wasn’t really a fit time to pull out the remnants and fresh up the lot though. I had just set the dishwasher running and as I wistfully looked outside I heard the playful squeaks of my nine month old stirring from her nap. I glanced at the clock and swiftly wiped my hands on the limp hand towel. I ducked between spits of rain while getting sorely reminded that I’ve gone without a decent pair of garden gloves for two years running now, mostly because I am so forgetful that I need them replaced unless I am deep in dirt. It was cold. The circumstances certainly weren’t convenient.
The problem with waiting for the time or means to accomplish anything, is that in the waiting time still flies and whatever means are available remain unused.
Why should I wait for a laptop when a pencil will suffice?
Why should I forgo a meal of rice and beans when choice meats are yet in hand?
When no one will employ me for my brains, what may I do with my hands?
Opportunity, like breath, is ever present until life itself is snuffed. With each new morning comes liberty to pray, to steal away a few minutes to read a psalm, to knit just one row, to cradle a cup of tea or even to watch the breeze finger the leaves on the tree outside. Opportunity often comes by the moment, unplanned and without announcement, and in peace. It is the opposite of distraction and the wild restlessness of worry and hurry. Opportunity does not come dressed in frenzy nor in promises. It simply, I think, comes as an invite to unfurl a bit of the tangle of your to-do list, or even to rethink what ought to be there. Sometimes the opportunity is an opportunity to rip up the to-do list.
Fifteen minutes later the strawberries were planted and I was warming my fingers under soapy water. The tea kettle was put on, the baby was satisfied.
And so was I, pondering how good that first thick red strawberry this summer will be.