One of my teachers loves flowers.
He had planted chrysanthemums all around his house.
Those flowers brought him joy.
Sadly, there was a mix-up one day in the chemical shed.
When he intended to spray some fertilizer on the flowers, he got the weed killer instead.
His lovely mums got sprayed with herbicide. They shriveled up, turn brown and died. This made my friend very sad.
However, even though the mums appeared to be mostly dead, they did have one pathetic little scrap of green remaining.
So my friend continued to water, and tend, and talk to his beloved plants.
Sometimes he got discouraged. Sometimes he was sure it was of no use. But he decided to just be patient, and give it time. Day after day after day he kept tending to those shriveled up dead looking flowers. He did not give up.
All the rest of that season the mums looked hopeless. Other people who saw him carefully tending those brown stubs just laughed, insisting that those flowers were toast.
But when the next spring came, the mums came back again. They looked a little misshapen and funny. But they bloomed. They once more brought joy.
It's hard to know when to give up and when to be patient and keep trying. Whenever I think of quitting, I try to remember the mums.