May 24, 2015
The unintended consequences of good deeds produce some of life’s most acute frustrations. The farm report this week concerns one of these moments.
I was (note tense of verb) carefully nurturing a transplanted crop of “hen and chickens,” nested in what I viewed as the “artistic” remains of a broken crock. They had not wintered well; only two small “chicks” showed sign of life. I was very careful to avoid disturbing this fragile hold on life as I cleaned the flower bed around them.
This week the people who care for the grounds hurriedly mowed the common area lawn, racing to catch a brief interval between rain showers. Despite their haste, they noticed the broken crock in the flower bed, but, understandably, they did not notice the two tiny “chicks.”
In a generous gesture, they took time to stop and gather up the remnants of the broken crock, “helping” me in a way they were not obligated to do.
The consequence was a good deed, a clean flower bed, the broken crockery carried to the trash, and total destruction of the environment in which I had been nurturing the “hens and chicks.”
While surveying the disaster, I found the two “chicks” covered in the newly turned soil. I rescued them and placed them in intensive care in a small pot in the kitchen window. Prognosis is VERY poor.
I confess that initially I regarded Annie with a good bit of suspicion. Her on-going program of bathroom remodeling and my effort to garden sometimes conflict rather sharply. However, Annie was cleared of all complicity in the matter when I realized the implications of the removal of the fragments of the crock. Annie is an extraordinary cat as we all know, but even the specialness of her duchess self could not move shattered pottery to the trash.
While exonerated of all blame, Annie was mildly offended. From her point of view, my distrust, however temporary, was unmerited. How could I not trust her? Is she not the Loving Chief Cat of the Household who sits on my lap and purrs? How could I think such a thing?
Easily, I thought to myself, remembering other of Annie’s behaviors in addition to her fine purring, but I did not say this to Annie. She appeared to be in a fine mood at breakfast this morning, so I assume all is again well in our relationship.
It seems to me that this principle of unintended consequences applies to the complex issues of diminishment. At the present time, my attention to hallowing diminishments is occupied with the unintended consequence of an action that I viewed initially as a good thing, but which in consequence is proving to be problematic.
The problem began when with good intentions I provided information about my experience of diminishment without anticipating clearly the dilemma this information might present to those to whom I spoke.
Telling the truth is, I believe, a good thing. Truth shared, however, can produce unexpected consequences, some of which can result in complications difficult to manage.
Thinking with you about the unanticipated ways in which truth telling sometimes impacts relationships. Makes for odd turns in life's path, doesn't it?
More when I see you next week.