Beholding the Lilies of the Field

For Each Moment, No Matter Our Fears, We are Safe, and Loved.

Duo Dickinson / 10.15.20

No, the above flower is not a lily. But it is a rescue flower.

Bought for $5 from the back shed of a garden store, just prior to being put in the mulch pile, a few months ago, this fairly dead hanging plant was at the right price. And after a summer of MiracleGro feeding (inorganic, industrial grade) and the one spot of sun on our nearly two acres, it was transferred for a full season of blooming with a bunch of other rescue flowers.

I love fixing, but loathe feeding, weeding, and all the other things gardeners are supposed to love. The 23 “gardens” (or 27 if you count the replanted failures) at our place are really impositions of desired plants supplanting (no pun intended) indigenous poison ivy, jewel weed, and sumac. They survive or die, un-watered, un-weeded, but loved. A few even flower in a dark, salty, rock-filled landscape.

But that’s not the point.

Beyond my planting, nothing that grows on our place cares anything about anything except growing. “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin …” They have one life purpose: life itself.

We, on the other hand, care deeply, fully, maniacally, about purpose and outcomes. I care that these plants are not mulch. I care, even though I used pretty heinous means, that they flower. It gives me unexpected joy. Every day. So much so that I will miss them when they are gone, even though I understand that I will be gone, too, someday.

Maybe it’s that I intervened, I saved, I nurtured, and I allowed extension of life — even though we simultaneously cut down a blighted 180-year-old maple and see that the plague just keeps ravaging along. Oh, and COVID-19.

In the sea of 2020, our intentions mean almost zero. Our desired outcomes are either dumbed down to distantly seeing a couple of friends, or we congratulate ourselves for our careful responses and thoughtful meanings applied to this complete freak show.

But I do like the flowers. They are, well, beauty. In a sea of not beauty. The floral outcroppings around my property do nothing to survive, and yet they persist. The occasional dry spell or frigid summer’s night all give way to warmth and rain and more growth.

This freak show will eventually be over. Hell, all of our lives will be over soon enough. But “over” is not quite the issue, either.

What is the meaning of even these patrician problems? I can see no meaning other than beauty. And God. The God who made these flowers for zero discernible “meaning” other than the beauty we feel when we see them. No matter who is on the Supreme Court or elected President.

I was completely transfixed by a 3-year-old playing with her mother’s hair in the safely distanced, outdoor waiting line at Starbucks this week. She just loved her mom, her mom’s hair, and the time shared. She was safe, and loved. We are all her, we just forget.

For each moment, no matter our fears, we are safe, and loved. In a sea of noise and threat. Because God made us, too. In the aggregation of tempestuous fears, we only have the fears that flowers fully lack, let alone care about. We can lose ourselves in our righteous fears.

Or we can see the lilies and play with our mother’s hair.