Saturday, July 23, 2011

Poor Man's Flowers, or God's Hothouse

I'm a hopeless romantic. Not in the Sleepless in Seattle way, in the get carried away by dandelion seeds floating in the wind way. Stop midway through a sentence to soak up a sunset way. Slow down and notice the weeds way. Wait...weeds? Huh?

There's not much to look at out here where the wind blows. Some might disagree with me. I'm sure there are people out there that think miles and miles of flat fields dotted by red barns and silver grain bins are beautiful. I'm just not one of them. Not compared to the lush green hills and valleys where I grew up. But at this time every year a dazzling array of wildflowers spring up and spread across the ditches outlining the fields. Tall sprigs of Queen Anne's Lace reaching to the sky, entire fields of purple clover, thick patches of blue cornflower, bright sassy Tiger Lilies' peeking their feline faces out from the ditches, and their sister cattails growing up high. Today I drove past dandelions so thick I couldn't see the grass, just cheery yellow flowers taking over their corner of the world.

Perhaps the reason I am so enamoured with wildflowers is because I don't have a green thumb, pinky, big toe or any other apendage. Mostly everything I plant ends up dying, and if you turned over an already thriving garden to me I'd kill it. I love the idea of gardens and flowers but I'm not any good at getting past the theory of it all. Wildflowers don't require a plan and don't demand much to survive. It seems that no matter how wet or how dry a summer may be these determined flowers return year after year.

Today on my midday commute from the office to the school I drove past a yard entirely overtaken with blue cornflowers. I thought it was beautiful, so natural and untamed. For some this would be a serious weed problem, flowers usurping the rightful place of grass. But others can see the beautiful simplicty of a yard entirely given over to God's gardening. In this sense I'd rather have my heart be like this yard of unkempt cornflowers. Compeltely submitted to God's design, growing like wild under His care, blossoming in a dazzling spectrum of colors, coming back year after year no matter the conditions, unplanned except by Him. This seems healthier to me than keeping a well-ordered, contained, restrained heart only growing under my own power--thriving when I'm strong, dying when I'm weak.

Wildflowers are a poor man's flower. You don't have to be rich to gather a few daisies and lilies growing wild on the edge of a field, all you need is love. I'd much rather have my husband take the time to pick a handful of flowers from our fields than simply slap some money down for flowers someone else picked and bundled. My favorite flowers are actually these weedy wildflowers--Lily of the Valley, Tiger Lilies, Daisies, and Queen Anne's Lace. I remember feeling so brokenhearted for the dainty and fragrant Lily of the Valley when I first found out she was considered a weed. How could something to sweet and simple be a weed?

It seems that wildflowers are hearty and self-sufficient. They don't require a perfect temperature or humidity level. But they do require a special eye to notice them, to choose them, to see their beauty. A rose demands attention, an orchid insists upon it, but a daisy bobbing in the wind is easy to overlook to all but the true romantics. The hopeless romantics. We're the type that don't need expensive hothouse flowers, we're the type that prefers the poor man's flowers, God's hothouse flowers.

Consider the lilies how they grow:
they toil not, they spin not;
and yet I say unto you,
that Solomon in all his glory
was not arrayed like one of these.
~~Luke 12:27

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