Sunday, June 28, 2009

Flowers, Weeds; Wowers, Fleeds.

For a service project last year we helped to weed a flower garden. It was in deep need of a makeover, and was overrun with weeds all over. But there were still lots of perennials and nice bushes, strawberry plants, and a few budding flowers. Before we began, we carefully asked what exactly were we supposed to be pulling. She pointed out some examples of weeds - thistly or viney, but always ugly - and some examples of flowers - delicate and beautiful. Easy enough.

As we delved into our back-bending labor, we quickly discovered that there were a host of plants that didn't fit into the black and white categories of Flower or Weed. 
There were some nice perennials that simply didn't have any flowers yet and sure looked like weeds; there were also some nasty weeds that happened to have colorful, tiny flowers. "What about this one?" we would ask, pointing.  "And this one?" It soon became apparent that we just weren't as skilled in botany as the owner whom we were helping. She had to direct our every move. Then finally she announced: "Ok, whatever. If it looks like a weed, pull it. I'd rather have a few flowers pulled than leaving infectious weeds. If in doubt, pull it out" (or something to that effect). 

And so that began a mad rush to get done as soon as possible. "Everything must go!" Of course, a beautiful flower or delicate leaves would stop us quickly, and we would carefully work around it. But anything that looked anything like a weed was gone without hesitation. The poor non-blooming flowers were now just as evil as the thistles and flowering-weeds alike. Only the beautiful, blooming flowers could stay. And thus, the task was accomplished. 

In the few hours it took to pull all the weeds, I thought of how - of course - it was metaphor! In life, there are Flowers and Weeds; Good and Bad; Light and Dark; Disciples and Destroyers; Beauty and Ugliness; Love and Hatred. But more and more in today's world we are seeing not only Flowers and Weeds, but also Wowers and Fleeds. 

Wowers are those nasty weeds who have learned that if they grow some flowers, people think that they're beautiful. Dandelions, for example, are nothing but vicious wolves in tattered sheep skins. The media has made gambling and alcohol and smoking and drugs and promiscuity and attacks on the institution of family into colorful Wowers - evil weeds pretending to be "good" and exciting because of the "wow" factor of the activity. Yet Wowers will often suck the life right out of the true Flowers around it, leaving nothing but dead and dried-up waste. We must avoid these evil Wowers at all costs!

Fleeds, on the other hand, are those naturally-born flowers who have sadly decided they don't want to shine their petals any longer, and lose their flowers to look more and more like a weed. Perhaps due to the peer pressure of the weeds around them, they become ashamed of their true inner beauty and begin acting in a way that is certainly unbecoming of their true nature. Fleeds are in desperate need of help. For when the Gardner comes to clean out all the weeds, the Fleeds will be taken just as quickly. We should all want the Master to easily recognize us as a True Flower - or adding just an "ol" - a True Follower!

This simple service project turned into a marvelous learning experience for me. I want to be the biggest and brightest and bestest Flower that I can be! I want everyone to know that I believe in God and in His Son Jesus Christ. I believe in the redeeming power of the Atonement. I believe in the everlasting salvation of God's Plan for each of us. Christ said himself, let your light shine forth, or in other words - make sure that everyone knows that you are a declared Flower. Share your beauty. Drown out the ugliness of the weeds beneath you by rising above in beauty, stretching ever more towards the Life-giving Light. 

Just as there are some weeds that look like flowers and some flowers that unfortunately look too much like weeds, there are all sorts of people in the world, at every single step from Purely Good to Purely Bad. It's my hope that anyone who ever looks at me, and my life, and my Fruits will have no problem knowing where I stand on that spectrum. For truly one day the Weeds, Wowers, and Fleeds will all be hewn down, allowing the Flowers to then reach their full potential.

Note: all pictures were taken by me within the past few months


Brittney said...

Wow, Nate. This is great! I've just browsed through it so far. I'm going to tackle one post a day, I think, as part of my scripture study. :) Thanks for sharing your amazing insights and posting such fun pics! We love you and miss you out here!

Linda said...

Nathan, love it, love it! You always make me think deeper than my little mind usually thinks! Thanks for being a beautiful, handsome and wonderful flower in my garden of life!!