I read an anecdote a while back that sometimes surfaces in the swirly vortex of my brain.
There was a fellow who ran a company and was looking forward to retiring. He had to choose a successor. He called in all his senior people and explained that he was going to use a very unorthodox way to choose the next leader of the company. Each person in the room got a seed, and was to grow and tend it for a year. They would reconviene with their plants and he would choose.
They all took their seeds and got a pot and planted their seeds. One manager stared for weeks at an empty pot. The seed would not grow. She became increasingly anxious as she listened to the rest of the candidates talking about their plants. The day before they were to meet with their plants, she considered just going and buying a fully grown lush plant, but she decided that if she couldn’t grow a plant, she maybe couldn’t handle the rigors of running a company. So she took the empty pot.
Her peers were agog at her obvious failure. The head of the company looked at everyone’s plants and announced the woman with the empty pot would be taking over his position. All the seeds were boiled – they would not grow.
During Lent, may we stop being judgy about our perceptions of the success of other people’s projects. This Lent, may we find more value in how we feel about ourselves than how we think others will think of us.