Picture a wooden fence with a small rose peeking out through a small crack between boards. It grew where it was planted, but it wanted more; maybe it sought more light, a new view of the neighborhood, escape. I often think in metaphors and that little rose has set me to thinking about flowers and weeds that flourish in spite of their tending, or lack of it.

Some people I’ve encountered in my travels are like that little rose or the weeds in my garden; they are happy to live and bloom where they have their beginnings, shrivel and become unlovely where they are, spread the seeds of their unpleasantness, or become transformed in a new location. High school classmates who remained in our home town have blossomed and become leaders; others have not done so well, going from one thing to another unsatisfied and unpleasant. Still others have found fulfillment in other places where they find beauty and contentment in their surroundings.

As we approach a time for high school graduates to make their first life decisions, I look back to classmates or students of mine who have made their way, some traveling distances, some not so far from where they were planted. I have wonderful memories of days and years spent helping young people seek that special something each of them had inside her/himself.

Each time I encounter a bloom where none should be, I suspect I’ll smile at what might have been and what is.