Once upon a time lived a man who took great pride in his garden, and even more pride in the fact that year after year, without fail, his carefully prepared flower display won first prize in the village competition. How he smiled and hugged himself internally as the praise was showered on him.
And why wouldn’t he be proud? He had planned out every inch of his beloved flower patch. He had always chosen daffodils, because, let us face it, everyone loves daffodils. He had never stopped to ask himself if he agreed. He ensured that each bulb was planted at an exact and equal distance apart; not so close that their crowding could jeopardise them thriving, and not too far that unsightly gaps could be seen. His garden needed to be perfect, because, after all it was in many ways, a reflection of himself.
One day, a day like every other, he left his house for work. As usual, he stopped to scrutinise the yellow heads that danced gracefully in the breeze. A smile of satisfaction almost lit his face until… he observed that something very different had taken root in his patch.
At first he was irked, peeved and perplexed. Until closer inspection caused him to recognise the beauty of this unwelcome invader. He drank in the colours, touched the soft petals, and savoured the scent. It was magnificent. It was excellent, elegant, exquisite and exotic.
It did not belong in a bed of perfect golden daffodils.
Throughout his day in work he could not focus. His mind kept wandering back to his unusual discovery. He had never seen anything like it before. He searched his books from beginning to end, and could not find anything that remotely resembled his delightful, yet curious new addition.
As each day passed he became more fixated with the flower. It was perfect in every way. It consumed his waking thoughts, and awoke passion in his nightly dreams. Where had it come from? And more importantly why had it chosen him? He felt blessed….
..yet simultaneously heavy hearted. For the gardener was acutely aware that the village contest was ever approaching. He found himself spending more and more time gazing at his new flower. Its beauty was addictive, its presence was humbling, and its sudden appearance in his life was more and more perplexing. Never had he felt such love, and never had he felt so much confusion. He gazed at it more and more in the hope that every detail would be imprinted in his memory. He knew of the dilemma that was to come.
Two days before the village garden inspection he faced the decision that had been haunting him for weeks. His heart thumped in his chest and his hands trembled as he carefully and lovingly removed his flower from its comfortable bed, and placed it in a secret yet important part at the back of his house. The bedding was moist, and the sun would shine lovingly upon it.
The following day he set his alarm early so he could check on what had become of the most beloved and treasured item in his life. To his horror he found that overnight his flower had wilted and turned an unsightly shade of grey. He didn’t go to work. He spent all day tending to it, watering it, speaking to it, begging it, praying for it… Alas to no avail. He knew deep inside his heart that his flower was dying because it no longer felt his love. Removing it from the daffodil bed, had removed it from his life.
He of course won the village contest, once again. Yet he felt no joy, and he felt no happiness. Something rare, unique and inimitable had entered his life, never to be replaced. His ignorance had killed it and it was never to return.
Every single day for many many years the gardener searched every inch of his land, hoping and hoping for his flower to return. It never did. He could never replace it, and never replicate the joy it had brought him. “And for what?”, he thought. “A bed of daffodils that could be bought in any shop”. He had lost something truly special, and all because of his fear of being different, and his desire to be a winner. It had taken a sorrowful experience to realise that being a winner had brought him so much loss.
He knew that if he was ever presented with the opportunity again, he would hold onto what was precious and ignore everything else.
Happiness comes from deep within,
His life never changed with a loss or a win.
Once in his life he had something dear,
He killed it when anxious and consumed with fear.
Never again would his life be complete,
Although he did win, he felt endless defeat.