I’d never heard that idiom before today – “an embarrassment of riches.” But, it’s perfectly apropos for today.
But, first, a backstory.
A couple of weeks back, I saw an ad for 4 large bonsai trees for $90. Frankly, the pictures didn’t look great. But, the pots were large, and the trees looked like they had potential with a little love and care – and a lot of pruning. The pots alone were worth more than $90. But, I really didn’t have $90 to spend. I inquired, and was told that I could have them for $70. I agreed and made arrangements to come the following day. By the following morning, I received a message saying, if I was stilling coming, I could have then for $60. I did have $60. And, I was already planning to buy them.
The only problem was that I was going to need to drive an hour to get them – which in South Florida is not that unusual. But, still far.
About mid-way to the place of purchase, I received a call from the owner, saying that some of the trees MAY have already been sold. I think that’s what she said. She had a very thick accent that was difficult for me to understand. She said she would call when she knew. I told her I was half-way to her, but that I would wait at the next exit. It turns out that she had also sent me a text, saying that all four trees might have been sold, but she wasn’t sure.
I waited. I waited. I got gas. I waited. I walked around Home Depot. I waited.
Did I mention that these trees didn’t really look that great?
Finally, she texted me: “Sorry. The trees are sold.”
I was ticked. I was ticked that I had wasted time and gas. I was ticked I had missed out on a good deal. And, I was a little ticked with myself for being ticked.
Did I mention that I really didn’t need them, anyway?
Fast forward to today.
I had the day off. I noticed an ad yesterday, that someone was giving away some plants – for free! – some of which could be used for bonsai. I could tell by the ad that this person knew his plants (he named the species) and that he loved them (he used the word “adopt” in reference to taking his plants. He also required an email, explaining why I wanted to the plants, and that I had adequate knowledge to take care of the plants. I explained that I work with bonsai, and that I am new to South Florida, and that I would like to work with some of his material, if he would be willing to trust me with it.
We exchanged emails and texts, and arranged a meeting time. But, before I arrived he called me to let me know he was home and ready. He also said that, in addition to the plants he was giving me, he was going to give me all of his old bonsai pots. He used to grow bonsai trees, but had given away his entire collection the previous year, due to health limitations. But, he still had a few pots and he was giving them to me – for FREE!
I walked away with over 20 pots of plants – really, REALLY nice plants! – and about 30 nice bonsai pots. All in all, he gave me way over $500 worth of stuff – not to mention a really nice conversation and some great plant tips. And, he even offered me more, and told me to come back!
As I am riding home, with my Toyota CR-V packed with plants and pots, I heard someone on the radio say something about “an embarrassment of riches.” I wasn’t only struck by the turn of phrase. I also recognized that I was the unexpected recipient of “an embarrassment of riches” today.
A couple of weeks ago, I felt like a victim because I was inconvenienced and because something I wanted – sort of – was SOLD to someone else. Today, I received at least 10 times as much – and more – for FREE!
The biggest lessons I learned today were generosity and gratitude. I know my new friend HAD to give his stuff away to someone. He just can’t take care of all of it anymore. But, still, I hope I will be as generous when I have the opportunity! And, I am grateful.
Anybody need a plant?