• Kathryn Robinson, LPC, MS

Lesson of Harmony from Tulip Gardens

It is amazing the lessons we can learn from the most unexpected places at the most unexpected times. In April, about four years ago, my daughter and I went to Washington, DC. We did what was expected of tourists. We visited various memorials and museums, the White House, and the Capitol. We walked continuously going from one tourist attraction to another tourist attraction. We walked toward the Capitol Building passing a beautiful, peaceful park filled with a plethora of flowers and plants. The trees were budding, and the pink flowers on the tress added to the beauty of the park. The park contained benches which I could hear one calling my name. I let my daughter know I had to rest and I sat down. As I sat resting, my daughter left me to further explore the park and to take more pictures.

When I caught my breath, I looked around and discovered I was surrounded by tulip gardens. I am not a big fan of the single tulip flower, but as a group, the tulips were a breathtaking sight. I got up from my bench to take a closer look. At first glance, all I could see was a beautiful red garden, and all the tulips looked the same. I looked closer to the details and began to note differences in the tulips. My daughter returned, and I pointed her attention to the garden I was enjoying. I pointed out the differences in the individual flowers I had noticed. Some differences were pronounced, but some of the differences were subtle. Yet, the differences did not detract from the beauty of the garden. I would venture to say that the differences enhanced the beauty.

My daughter and I began our long trek to the Capitol building. We saw on our journey there the way lined with other tulip gardens which made our journey enjoyable. We were surrounded with dynamic, vivid colors, and the breath of life. These gardens gave us energy and vitality. We stopped and examined the different gardens individually. Each garden was in separated rectangular patches in different locations, and each garden was different colors, but upon closer inspection we noticed each garden was much like the original garden we looked at. The individual flowers were not the same.

In one garden, the majority of the tulips were red, but, among the red, there were tulips not the same color. These orange-red and pink tulips were dispersed sparsely among the red majority. Some of the flowers were not perfectly shaped. The majority of the flowers had tight and pristine petals that were shaped alike. But among them were flowers whose petals were apart and misshaped.

Every garden had its dominant color, but every garden had its minority color that usually was just a little lighter than the dominant color or not the same color at all. In one distinct garden were variegated tulips. Each individual flower was either two or three different colors. Even the variegated tulips were different. The minority color in this garden were the red tulips. Despite their differences, the tulips worked together to create another breathtaking garden.

In each garden, none were greater than the other even though the flowers were not exactly the same. Each flower was comparable to the others but, at the same time, played their part in making a splendid garden that brought color, freshness, and vitality to our long walk. To see the differences, my daughter and I had to make a point of looking for the differences, talking about these diversities, and judging these different flowers as beautiful as the majority or were they adequate to belong in that garden.

My daughter and I found it to be irony that we made these observations as we walked toward the United States Capitol Building. The United States is called the melting pot with its diverse peoples from divergent countries with their distinct and dissimilar cultures and beliefs. We began to see the analogies from the tulip gardens we were viewing with the garden of the United States which can be expanded to include the world. Different locations, different colors, different cultures, different beliefs, and yet one garden. Even among each location, each culture, and each belief, there are those who are different. Some differences are slight. Some differences are major, but still planted in that particular garden. Was it accidental? I don't think so.

The human race is not as separate from its surrounding as we might want to believe. Our attitudes toward the differences in the stunning gardens that surround us can make our walk through this long, difficult life enjoyable or unbearable. Our focus can be on the beauty or the negativity. We can make a point of looking for the differences, talking about them, and judging them, or we can just embrace the fact that not everybody is the same.

Choosing to enjoy the beauty of the diverseness of our surroundings helped to make my daughter's and my long, hot walk to the Capitol Building more interesting and enjoyable. Each person's choice to see the diversity in the garden of the human race in the same light of acceptance can make our journey through life more interesting and pleasurable. We can learn wisdom if we take serious consideration of what is around us that appear to be in harmony in spite of differences. Every flower in the gardens, no matter the differences or similitude, served its distinctive purpose within the realm of the garden in which it was located. These flowers such as people are individuals marrying together their own contribution to make an exquisite whole, and all it took was the choice of acceptance of the differences to bring about harmony.

#diversity #harmony #acceptance

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