Each year in the spring, my husband, Mike, makes a trip to Home Depot for flower seeds.  He picks up several packets in various types and colors.  Then he comes home and mixes them altogether and places them in an old spice bottle that has large openings in the top.  
When the grandkids come over, they have the fun task of sprinkling the mystery seeds in the cracks between where the stone tiles of the patio meet the wooden railroad ties that edge the area.  

They pat the delicate seeds down all snug and tight, and sprinkle water on them to get the process started.  Then we all sit and look at the different packages the seeds came in picking our favorite ones, wondering which ones will come up first, who will be the tallest, and who will last the longest.  

We’ve played this simple game for the past few years, and it is fun to see how excited the kids get when the green leaves emerge and the first flower blooms.  It varies each year, but many times the deep blue Bachelor Button arrives first, with that sturdy golden Marigold hanging on longest.

This year, however, we had a huge surprise.  There is one plant, and I have no idea what it is, but it has grown and grown, and is actually still growing.  I don’t know what was different about this guy – we watered him the same, he was in the same location, nothing special -- but he has exceeded all expectations.  

Here is our amazing mystery flower, plant, tree, whatever you want to call it (and my amazing husband)!
As I thought about this pleasant surprise of nature, it seemed so symbolic of life.  Many times we cross paths with people and then they’re gone never to be seen again.  We don’t know if something we say or do in that brief moment of time will have an effect on them for the rest of their lives.  It’s like planting a seed.  We don’t see anything at first, we just put it in the dirt and let it go.  Later on we may see something fresh and new emerging from nothing.  Occasionally, something magical and magnificent bursts forth from that tiny seed. 

I am reminded of a comment made to me by a teacher I had in junior high that changed the trajectory of my life in a powerful positive way.  Has that ever happened to you?
How many times has some random gesture you offered a stranger left an indelible print on their life?  Has an encouraging word or ‘atta boy’ you uttered changed the way someone felt about themselves?  You may never see the beautiful petals sprout.  In spite of that, let’s keep planting seeds, with hopes that someone else comes along to water them occasionally, and in the end a stunning blossom unfolds to share its beauty and gifts with others, as well.