A Month of Growth

Author - Keyshawn Parkman

Growing is hard. At least, it has been for the past month. I wish I could write to you and say that I've been growing at a tremendous rate with a smile on my face and that if you were able to meet me, I wish I could tell you that there are noticeable changes. Sadly, that's not the case, and I realize that's okay.

I've always viewed growth as something evident on the outside, as something that everyone would be able to see. Growth should be a good thing, something that has noticeably gotten bigger or stronger. But in the short period that I've spent meditating on this topic and my time here, I've realized that growth might've had a different meaning than I've realized all along.

Throughout this entire month, the main thing I've been wrestling with is this idea of control. I felt as though, as soon as I moved into this house, several things left my control. Some of those things range from knowing what we're doing a week in advance to how much money we make. These things have often taken storage in my head. This environment we've been placed in has been so different from what I've been used to, and I've been wrestling with the simpler things, such as creating a schedule to cope with our environment.

The schedule and patterns I've been used to for the last few years have been quickly thrown out the window, as there isn't any space for where they fit. Something as simple as my quiet time with God has been moved around to later on during the day, as I'm fighting trying to wake up earlier than 6:45. Being able to schedule certain things came from knowing what I'm doing days or even weeks in advance and came easy to me, and if I'm being honest gave me a small sense of control. But as the weeks go by, I've wrestled with the idea that I may as well keep my mind occupied on right now rather than schedule ahead.

I've wrestled with the idea that I have no clue what I'm doing after this year; I have no plan. It's something that's been bothering me for some time now. For me, there's just something so unsettling about not "having a plan." Mostly, this comes from outside influences. People like my mother and father and their respective friends, all are successful people who achieved what they achieved in life by "having a plan." I look over and see their kids, the same age as me, living vastly different lives than mine, and I can't help but feel like I'm doing something wrong.

I feel like I'm doing something to prevent me from experiencing a life I'm supposed to be living or that I'm "doing something wrong" has also been a struggle for me. Here and there, I'll get the feeling that something bad in my life is happening because of something I did. I've been struggling with the idea that I don't have as much control as I do.

But as I've reflected on everything that I've been through, the struggles that I've had internally, emotionally, and spiritually, I realized that this struggle IS growth and that I may have just been misinterpreting my situation. When a seed is planted into good soil, it experiences darkness and confusion. The seed has no idea when or where its water and nutrients will come from or what its purpose even is. Yet as those nutrients come forth, the only thing that seed does is struggle. The seed struggles as it tries to push its way out of the ground. It's not until this seed struggles consistently for days, maybe even weeks, that it finally breaks the surface of the ground and sees the light.

I believe I may be similar to a seed in this situation. The lack of control in our situation may seem like a type of darkness—not evil, but the idea that we're "left in the dark" about so many things conveys a lack of control that could very much benefit me. My entire environment, like the seed, could be my nutrition. I understand that where I'm placed is just what I need to grow and that even though it seems as if I'm struggling, eventually, I'll reach surface level.
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