Why do some people overcome challenges and succeed while others with seemginly a smooth road in life wind up as failures? it's a question Courier-Post columnist Danny Henley considers.
Like apparently many other people, my wife, Nancy, and I ventured down to North Main Street in Hannibal a couple of weekends ago to take in the first week of the Farmer’s Market in its new location.
While we didn’t discover any rhubarb that was at the top of Nancy’s “wish list,” there certainly were a number of other plants and products available for sale.
However, the thing that most amazed me on that Saturday morning was not seen in the Farmer’s Market, but on the way to it.
As expected, there weren’t any parking spots to be found right next to the market’s entrance, but Nancy and I did manage to find one a half block away in a municipal lot. As I held my bride’s hand, we crossed the street together. Then, much to Nancy’s surprise I suddenly stopped dead in my tracks just short of the curb.
Understandably, Nancy wondered why I had dropped anchor so abruptly. With a smile on my face, I nodded downward and said, “Would you look at that.”
There before us, growing out of the tiniest of gaps between the concrete of the sidewalk and curb was a single plant, that I might have stepped over or on had it not been featuring a single, dark purple flower, that all but glowed in the bright morning sunlight. If I’d brought along a camera there is no doubt I would have spent 20 minutes sprawled in the street, working to find just the right angle to capture the image and its unlikely growing spot.
My resident flower expert explained it was a petunia.
“Talk about growing where you’re planted,” noted Nancy as we stepped over the colorful blossom.
While flowers of equal beauty were visible just a few feet away in a garden, they did not inspire the sense of wonder that this small, purple petunia had, growing in a location that would seem to be hostile to the existence of any sort of plant life.
It certainly wasn’t the first time I’d seen something growing where one wouldn’t expect life to take root. I see dandelions do it all the time, but unlike the weed, which puts out thousands of seeds, in this petunia’s case I wondered how its seeds wound up in such a location. Obviously, no right-minded gardener would have wasted their seeds, time and water to try and grow a plant in such a seemingly inhospitable environment.
Later, as I thought about Nancy’s “bloom where you’re planted” comment, it didn’t take long for me to make the transition from a small, flowering plant to people who wind up “blooming” despite starting off in seemingly the most stifling of environments.
History is full of examples of people who were born into poverty, yet managed to wind up being recognized for their accomplishments to society. Many others were born with physical limitations, yet still managed to “blossom” despite what appeared to be long odds.
On the flip side, there are countless situations where people seemingly had everything going for them when they came into the world, yet despite all their advantages managed to muck up their life, either by not living up to their potential, by leeching off of others, or who through a series of bad decisions wound up dying prematurely.
To be sure, there are also those who were born into a bad environment and allowed it to shape their life just as there are those who came into this world with everything working in their favor who went on to achieve all that was expected of them.
I certainly can’t explain why some beat long odds en route to success and others don’t. All I know is that each of us has no say into what sort of environment we’ll enter this world. But we all have the power to bloom where we’re planted.