Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Flower Garden (Things I Learned from My Kids #1)

My two-year-old daughter Hannah reminded me that all life on this planet has a purpose.

Like so many other young children, Hannah likes to pick flowers. In fact, "likes" might not be a strong enough word; it's more like a compulsion. The hibiscus bush in our back yard gamely replaces its blooms despite her ongoing tenderfooted efforts to remove them.

Is it a weed? (MOSI Tampa)
She does not limit her pickings to the landscape plants. She reminds me of my inconsistent mowing by picking such weeds as bidens and dandelions, a large number of which for some reason congregate in a patch near the foot of the slide. One day, Hannah proudly stood in the midst of the flowering uglies and told me that she was in the flower garden.

My addled brain, bereft of youth and innocence, pressed me to correct her. Those are not real flowers, they are weeds, I thought and almost said. But thankfully, something made me stop and take another look at the situation. Who am I to tell my daughter what constitutes an appropriate flower? In her mind, there is beauty to be found in what most of us think of as an invasive pest. The nice thing about being two years old is that Hannah hasn't lost that innocent sense of discernment yet. She is still able to see things as they appear to be, not just what we are "supposed" to think they are.

Majestic glider, reviled scavenger or both? (Ian Barker)
Consider the vulture. Do we see them as ugly simply because they feast on carcasses? If a bald eagle's diet consisted of carrion, would it still look majestic to us? When I watch the turkey and black vultures overhead in the winter months, I allow myself to see a certain grace in the way that they glide on the wind currents without flapping their wings.

Every form of life on this planet has a reason for existing. Flowering weeds provide pollen for bees and butterflies. Vultures eat the meat that would otherwise sit there and become havens for disease. Certain elements of creation might not fit our definition of what is useful or appealing to us, but it's not up to us to decide what is worthy of existence and what is not. Perhaps it takes a return to our youth to see that.

Words of Wisdom

"Far better to rely on the Eternal than put faith in men." - Psalm 118:8 (MNT)

No comments:

Post a Comment