Oh, if I only had a basket of money for every time I’ve heard “Bloom where you’re planted”. The wish is part of the problem, of course, but the reason I’ve heard it so many times is because it is not unheard of for me to express frustration and discontent over my current station in life. My perennial discontent absolutely carries over to my character in one of two ways. They either hate their careers and through the course of terrible things I do to them, find a new and rewarding vocation OR they are enjoying a career which I personally covet, imagining that ‘if only, then…’. Maturity and more years than I can believe has more or less taught (beat into?) me that the grass may or may not be greener on the other side of the fence but if you water your own lawn, it won’t be as brown (I did see something very similar to this on a meme so I’m not the only one who has learned this lesson, apparently).
This raises a sticky question both spiritually and practically, which is at what point is Acceptance the proper response to a situation and at what point is action required? Usually when people tell me to bloom where I’m planted, they are telling me to sit down, shut up and make the best of things. At one point in my life I thought this was just about the worst advice ever. I considered acceptance tantamount to giving up or (gasp) settling. What I did eventually figure out was that when there is nothing to be done about one’s immediate circumstances there are huge, great, indescribably wonderful benefits to getting in to acceptance and giving your all to whatever you (have to) do.
One of the best people at doing this was probably Brother Lawrence, a seventeenth century Carmelite monk. I don’t know what aspirations Brother Lawrence might have had, but he spent pretty much his whole life peeling potatoes in the monastery. Rather than grow bitter and plot the other monks’ demise so that he could rise through the ranks of monkhood and rule the joint, he made a decision to do every task for the glory of God. This humility and acceptance ultimatel not only built his character immensely, but also ended up attracting people to him to a much greater extent that a hostile monk takeover ever would have.
It’s a fine line when teaching a character acceptance. After all, the plot has to move, and there is not much drama in accepting. Fortunately, in fiction and in life, the pain points that lead to the lesson can be as harrowing as the writer would like them to be…(that is, VERY! Sorry, characters).