This is an old post written in 2009. I thought I would resuscitate this for a new reader.
I am inspired to write this after reading Blur Ting's blog entitled The Letter. Ting and I have a lot in common and the similarities go much deeper into our psyches than simply "Oh, we both like gardening" and "Oh, we both love to cook, clean house and live on a farm." There is a reason that both our blogs resonate with warmth and positivity. Some might even say gullible naiveté... and cynical others might say impractical idealism... and jaded others yet might say bimbotic innocence.
You see, Ting and I both hold, as deeply precious and infinitely valuable the emotional discipline of being happy. Happiness is a choice, we both believe. Of course, most people want to be happy. But with Ting and I, it isn't merely wanting happiness... we are both ferociously determined to be happy.
It isn't that we are childish or stupid or have not met the ugly, the bad and the evil. Oh yes, we have! If you knew the monsters that had peopled both our lives, you would go pale at how our spirits writhed in prolonged agony, imprisoned in a place with no escape. In every garden, there are mealy bugs and spider mites that eat away at life and all that is beautiful. In every life, there is pain and sorrow. But in the richness of what life offers to inconsequential humans like us, why focus on the bugs if you can focus on the plant... why see the shadows of the garden, if there is also light... why suffer the heat of the sun and not see its role in the verdant growth of your little patch of paradise.
And that is why I love my garden through rain or shine, bare twigs or full, soil mealies or not. I love its touch. I love the smells. I love the colours. I love the songs the garden sings on days when the sun beats down on the black tar of Singapore's roads.
Back when I was young and in a lot of pain, a very wise friend gave me this advice. You cannot change the past, you can only grow the future. In the tapestry of your life, there is a hole... so big and so wide that everyone notices it. You cannot change the size of that hole. You cannot patch it up and make it whole. You cannot make it smaller. It will forever stay there and stay that size. But darling, you can choose. You can choose to embroider around that hole, vibrant colours and beautiful forms, and as you grow the tapestry of your life stitch by stitch by stitch, the hole will one day become insignificant compared to the loveliness all around. And the day will come when no one will even notice that there is a hole. The day will also come when you will yourself forget that there is a hole.
And so, I have focused on growing my plants and helping them thrive. I changed a barren space with hot stones and hostile sun into a retreat where the sun kisses my skin and caresses my hair. It is not a triumph over nature, for I have not changed the intensity of the sun. It is the trick of befriending the sun by accepting who it is without complaint. In essence, what I am trying to say is that whilst we can do little about the pain that life throws at us, we can still make it give us joy.
So Ting and I choose happiness at every... every... every... turn. And like Gandalf facing the fiery Balrog in the mines of Moria, we stand at the narrow passage between Unhappiness and the ones whom we love. Faces ablaze with relentless kindness and implacable love, we face monsters great and small, and we softly say "You shall not pass."