by Annette Bridges. © 2008. All rights reserved.

If you have a computer and email address, you will know what I’m talking about. We all get them. Those forwarded emails of jokes, poetry, photos, inspirational stories. Sometimes we get so many we don’t take the time to read all of them.

The subject line for this one simply read: Daffodils. Spring being in the air, I decided to read it.

The story began with a daughter urging her mother to come for a visit to see the daffodils while they were blooming. The mother wasn’t very excited about this idea and kept putting off the two-hour drive. A few days later she made the trip, although she could still care less about seeing daffodils.

After visiting with her daughter and grandchildren, she was ready to head back home. But at her daughter’s insistence, she relented and went to see the site her daughter promised should not be missed.

After going so far by car, the mother and daughter had to make the rest of the journey on foot. So, they walked down a path until much to the mother’s surprise was the most incredible and wondrous view she had ever seen. The mountain peak and its surrounding slopes were covered in spectacular shades of gold. The daffodils had been planted in swirling patterns, and the mother felt as if each shade formed its own unique river flowing over the hills. There were five acres of flowers.

She was in awe and wonder. She asked her daughter, “Who did this?” The daughter pointed to a house in the midst of the sea of daffodils. They walked up to the house and saw a poster on the patio that read:

“Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking.

1. 50,000 bulbs.

2. One at a time, by one woman.

3. Two hands, two feet, and one brain.

4. Began in 1958.”

There are many lessons to be found in this beautiful story, and some were shared in the email I received. You can probably guess that at least one has to do with accomplishing goals — one step at a time. Yes, this generally requires daily effort. And — it’s never too late to begin, so why keep waiting. We can all, like this woman, forever change the world in which we live, right where we are, right now — even if we’re on an obscure mountaintop.

Another lesson that was shared emphasized “learning to love the doing.” I can’t stop pondering this idea. And I realize in my own experience, that this love has sometimes been missing.

When working toward a goal, I’ve usually had the patience and perseverance needed. But I have to admit that I haven’t always loved every step that was needed. In fact, many times my attitude was more of a grit-and-endure or even a grin-and-bear-it one.

I thought about this one woman planting 50,000 bulbs over the course of forty years. It sounds like it could have been an overwhelming undertaking — one that could have caused much dismay or discouragement over the slow progress.

But somehow I think this woman began her task with a vision of her completed goal embedded in her thoughts. And with each bulb she planted, I suspect she was filled with love and joy in anticipation and expectation of what her deeds were accomplishing. She knew each individual bulb was indispensable to her goal, and I can’t help but think she loved giving the care and attention needed to each bulb.

Yes, I think I need to do a better job of “learning to love the doing” on this life journey of mine. And I suspect that if I can do this, I might get a sense of what this one woman felt as she planted each bulb and what she must surely feel now as she sees the masterpiece of her handiwork.

So, if you receive a forwarded email with the subject line of “Daffodils,” do read it! You will be glad you took the time.