I was struck by two identical trees in a courtyard. Both are Holly trees in the process of changing for the cooler weather, and yet they are at different stages of development. One is full with bright red berries, maybe a bit early and yet ready to go. The other still has orange berries which are not ripe or ready for the season change. Either the first tree is ahead of schedule or the second tree is a bit behind schedule. Same trees at different stages of life.
When dealing with people we have preset expectations that may or may not apply to everyone. We think they should be at a certain stage in their development, sometimes that applies and sometimes it doesn’t. We think they should behave a certain way and sometimes that works and sometimes that doesn’t. We think they should want to move to the next step and again that may or may not apply. Relationship with people means listening to what they want not superimposing what we want them to do. It may mean curbing our enthusiasm while we wait for their internal desires and yearning to bubble up to the top.
Living with people is like waiting for trees to come into bloom. They are amazing and beautiful and astonishing, and we have no control. They bring life and joy and color to our world, and if we are smart we will not try to force them to be more than they are. Our job is to simply let them be what they are and acknowledge and nurture the inner beauty they share as it becomes apparent. These two trees are at different stages and that means we get to enjoy the beautiful red berries more than once.