The World Isn’t Camelot

At times I’ve secretly wished that things would be arranged especially on my behalf. You see, I generally take a Sunday afternoon nap, and I think it would be very nice if it would rain every Sunday afternoon between 2 and 5. Not a heavy rain, but a nice rain (an inch and a half or so ). Then the rest of the week the sky would be blue. Days would not be too hot or too cold but just right. I have imagined me and my garden thriving under such conditions. That has been my secret longing. Then this week I came across a prayer of a fellow gardener, and I said to myself I know exactly how this fellow feels. This is how Karel Kapek’s prayer reads: “Oh Lord, grant that in some way it may rain everyday, say from midnight until three o’clock in the morning, but, you see it must be gentle and warm so that it can soak in; grant that at the same time it would not rain on the campion, alyssum, the helianthemum, lavender, and the other plants which You in Your infinite mercy know are drought-loving (I will write their names down on a bit of paper if You like) and grant that the sun may shine the whole day long, but not everywhere (not, for instance, on spirea, or on gentian, plantain lily, and rhododendron), and not too much; that there may be plenty of dew and little wind, enough earthworms, and no aphids and snails, no mildew, and that once a week a thin liquid manure and guano may fall from heaven. Amen.” Now this fellow puts me to shame. He has very high expectations. I think he actually feels like he should live in Camelot. Do you remember the lines from the musical Camelot when King Arthur first meets his future queen, Guinevere, and he attempts to woo her with the good fortune she is sure to find in Camelot? This is how the song goes… Arthur says, “The crown has made it clear. The climate must be perfect all the year. A law was made a distant moon ago here: July and August cannot be too hot. And there’s a legal limit to the snow here In Camelot. The winter is forbidden till December And exits March the second on the dot. By order, summer lingers through September In Camelot. The rain may never fall till after sundown. By eight, the morning fog must disappear. In short, there’s simply not A more congenial spot For happily-ever-aftering than here In Camelot Those are the legal laws. The snow may never slush upon the hillside. By nine p.m. the moonlight must appear. In short, there’s simply not A more congenial spot For happily-ever-aftering than here In Camelot.” Guinever remarks, “And I suppose the leaves fall in neat little piles? To which Arthur replies, “Oh, no my lady, the wind whisks them away altogether, at night, of course.” Guinever replies, “Of course.” No, the world isn’t Camelot, and our secret gardening wishes will never be granted. In fact, I think when our expectations for our gardens and our life are too high and irrational then the spirit of thankfulness is far, far away. Or to put it the other way around, the more humble we are in our expectations the more likely we are to be thankful when good things do happen, even when they are modest and seemingly insignificant. So, when you walk through your garden or take a drive in the country, take a good long look at the beauty you find there. Nothing will be perfect. You may be tempted to imagine that things could be a bit better, but banish the thoughts and the desires for Camelot and just be thankful for God’s little gifts of beauty.

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