Thursday, April 22, 2010

Weed or Wildflower?

My backyard is not landscaped. That means it is open domain for weeds, and with all the rain we've had this spring, the weeds have been continually gaining ground, literally. But today I noticed something amazing. I've been out of town for a few days and upon my return, I looked in the backyard and was stunned to see that my backyard is beginning to look exactly like the mountainside on the other side of the fence. A blanket of lovely little yellow flowers and various green plants are dotted across the expanse of my “un-landscaped” yard. I couldn't help but think to myself, “Who says these little volunteers are weeds? Who determines whether an emergent from the soil is a wildflower, a cultured plant, or a weed? Does a plant earn the label of “weed” just because it wasn’t planned or planted?” Hmmmmm.

Sort of got me thinking about the labels we put on people. I don't have to tell you what they are -- you know them. You know because you've been labeled by someone. Chances are, you've labeled others too. We call some people beautiful and others weird. Some people just don't fit in. Like weeds, they sprout up outside the garden walls in places we don’t expect them. They grow a little crooked or they just don't measure up to the prize plants that set the standard. That makes them weeds, right? I wonder. 

I have a feeling that what we call a weed -- whether a plant weed growing up as a volunteer in a place where it's not wanted, or a people weed that doesn't quite fit in with the others around it – was created by the same God who created the beautiful rose planted with loving care in our garden or the beautiful child carefully planned and anxiously awaited.

It is likely we will be compelled to spray the “weeds” in our backyard. It’s the thing you do when you have weeds. I’m not sure why right now as I look out and see how our yard has become an extension of the mountainside. But what I do know is that I’m not calling them weeds any more. I’ve been given a glimpse of beauty in something unexpected and unplanned. I hope that the next time I see a person that has been labeled “different or weird” I will be reminded of the beauty hidden inside them. My prayer will be for that inner beauty to find its way to my heart and I will see them the way that God sees them – as wildflowers.