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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Flowering: Doing Your Job

It happened quite innocently. I was not even looking for an idea for reflection. But there they were: flowers. I had just finished my run and was slowly walking around the front of our Recreation Center. It was hot and I wanted to cool down a little before going into an air-conditioned building. I was tired and not very alert.

But there they were: flowers. They were beautiful. Resplendent colors, but mostly white and a variety of purples met my eyes. There were two benches, but it was the urns at the end of each bench which caught my attention. The urns are pretty big. I doubt that I could wrap my hands around one. And they all were full of those radiant flowers. They were so full of flowers, one could see nothing else inside.

Obviously, they were in dirt. They were real. They were alive. I suppose artificial flowers can be pretty. But they are not the same. Natural beauty beats artificial beauty any day! Maybe the same thing goes for natural human beauty!

I had only intended to take a minute to cool down and, then, I planned to head inside to stay cool. I had stopped for a short break and found beauty instead! In the face of this cosmic generosity, I decided to sit on one of the benches and bask in the gift of beauty that had been given me.

The flowers became my teacher. I sat on that bench and tried to open myself to this didactic exercise…in other words, I let myself be taught. I began to be amazed at how many little flowers there were in each of those four urns. I could take my thumb and biggest finger and surround each little flower. Individually, they would be pretty, but no big deal.

But all together in that urn, they became a veritable knockout! One little flower by itself would offer only one color. Oh, it would be pretty enough. I like purple and one purple flower would be quite nice. But all together----whites surrounded by a variety of purples---were stunning.

I appreciated the beauty. Maybe that is all one is supposed to do with beauty. It is not meant to be utilitarian---to be useful. Beauty is meant to be appreciated, not applied. To appreciate means to take some time, to ponder, to soak, to bask, and other great action verbs like these. Had I simply stopped a moment to catch my breath and go on, I would have missed the beauty that graced my world.

Then it dawned on me. Those flowers were doing their jobs. I am not sure who assigned them the job: be beautiful. I guess I settle on God. I suppose it could be Fate or Destiny or Genetics. Those are ok, too. But I like God. Surely, some guy or gal planted those seeds and hoped they would grow into beauty. So the planter did not assign the job; he or she only started the process by planting.

And how they have done their job! Of course, then the spiritual lesson emerges. I have been planted in this world. I am old enough to have spent considerable time growing. The question is whether there are any blooms on me? I don’t know that my job is to be beautiful, but I do believe I have a job to do…and so do you.

Perhaps, this re-introduces God into our picture. What job does God intend for you? For what reason were you “planted” in this world? In a general sense, I am willing to say the job of all of us is to love the way God wants us to love.

And I also believe God wants us to serve. The flowers served me well today. Have I been loving and a servant in a way that God would be pleased? Have you loved and served in a way God would say, “Beautiful?” The way I see it, that’s our job: to flower as individuals in this world.

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