Stories of Kindness from Around the World

Pulling Weeds

--by docdjenkins, posted Feb 23, 2015
A few years ago I spent several months at a Franciscan center. We were barred from working in our professions and instead helped maintain the extensive grounds on the compound.

The philosophy was that working in our usual professions would close our minds to new discoveries and that desiring success would limit our possibilities to explore and take chances.

Simple acts such as mowing the yards, trimming trees and planting crops allowed us to work without competition. I had always told myself and others that honest work was worthy and that I did not judge people by their professions.

The first times I received compliments for my work I responded with expressions like; it’s no big deal or it’s pretty simple. After a few weeks I realized that I liked to hear compliments about my work. This realization was so strongand emotional that I started to cry while I was pulling weeds.

I was embarrassed that I really wanted people to notice my work. I had believed that I had to be doing something exceptional to receive compliments. I, the doctor, needed to be told that I was doing a good job pulling weeds. I learned a lot about myself and human nature-regardless of my education and profession I had an innate need to be complimented.
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Readers Comments

jaydeebug wrote: I love your story but on a very personal level as i too served as a volunteer in the same program for almost three years. Until i read your story, i didn't realize i had some of those same feelings. Yet we were there so we could learn to "die to self. " the directors, when i joined in 2001, wanted us to know the true meaning of perfect joy by the time we left the program. The franciscan covenant meaning.
I did learn so much, but admittedly, many of the. "truths" came after i returned to the real world. What wonderful role models the franciscan friars are and i will be forever grateful for my time with them and the other volunteers.
Geranium wrote: I am sitting at my computer thinking what a wonderful job in the garden that i just know you did.
Sending you love and a big (((hug)))
Michele Purcell wrote: I love this story. It is so true that if we don't take chances or step out of our norm we won't discover new thing to add to our list of things we love. It is so easy to give the compliments or help to others but i find it so hard to accept them ourselves. I am sure you probably complimented others for the "small " things but it is hard to take for us.
Sounds like a fascinating way to learn about yourself with the franciscans. I am going to have to learn more about that. :)
legan wrote: awesome !

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