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A few miles away from our apartment complex, there is a small lake with a park and a trail around it. Brooklyn and I go walk there whenever the weather permits (not too hot, not too wet) because it's a lovely little thing and because it makes concentric loops so you can walk for as long as you feel like without being trapped by a certain distance.
At one point along the trail, there is a verdant overgrowth of wildflowers with two signs: Do not mow, and Do not pick the flowers. On the other side of the trail is the backside of a subdivision. The yards come right up to the trail's edge, and as we rounded the corner, I saw a big plastic bag full of bags hanging on the outside of a dear little picket fence. It initially confused me (some people landscape right up to the trail, but not this house, so I couldn't imagine a reason for having the bags on that side) until I spotted the pile of green leaves and woody roots lying on the path (irises, maybe?) Someone had cleaned out their flowerbeds, and rather than throw away the surplus, they were sharing!
It struck me, especially since it was right across from the Sacred Wildflowers. I realize that the point of the wildflowers being left is that "if everyone picked one, then soon they'd be gone and then there wouldn't be any for the rest of us!" but that's a sad, mistrustful mentality that too many people in our jaded world ascribe to. The belief that if you trust people then they'll betray you, and if you give them a bloom then they'll harvest the whole field and sell it for profit on the nearest streetcorner. But if the wildflowers are left where they're planted, then the only people who can see them are the people who can (and will) walk on the trail. The best someone can do to spread them further is to take a picture, but that pales in comparison to actually seeing a flower in person.
But shared bulbs (rhizomes?) taken and planted elsewhere - that's the kind of thinking that makes Christianity work. Freely sharing the beauty, letting it multiply, then sharing some more --- having faith that whatever we give away, God will return and more, and that giving away joy and hope and love and beauty doesn't actually deplete our own supply anyway - it bounces back to give us greater capacity both to give and to receive! If I ever see whoever left those flowers sometime, I'd like to thank them, even though I didn't take any (no place to plant them) - for providing a moment of encouragement, and the reminder that the reason we bloom is not for our own enjoyment, but for the encouragement of others and the glory of God.
Do you bloom for the butterflies, the passersby, and the Artist who crafted you --- or are you tempted to just bloom for yourself?