• John & Vivett Dukes

Be Mindful Of Overlooking People That Don’t Fit The Mold Of Who Or What Our Society Deems Valuable

I learn so much about the character of God and myself through nature every day. It’s one of the reasons I appreciate living on Long Island, surrounded by nature. Over the last seven days a bouquet of flowers has ministered so powerfully to my soul that I’d like to share: Last week Sunday, I attended a banquet in honor of young people from my community of faith who were deemed to be “rising stars” for their consistent commitment to going about and beyond in using their God-given talents for the furtherance of His kingdom.

At the culmination of end of the event, I, along with others, was invited to help myself to some of the flowers that decorated the room, as they would be discarded otherwise. Everyone was focused on procuring the beautiful white roses. I was given one and while they are pretty, it was the lilies that caught my attention. You see, the lilies had not yet bloomed so the fullness of not only their beauty but their fragrance was hidden. That would come later and most people wanted their bouquet of flowers to be in full bloom. I happen to love lilies. Their shape, their fragrance — everything about them is beautiful to me, so I created my bouquet of flowers almost primarily comprised of — you guessed it lilies. I could see the faces of those around me looking at me as if I was making a huge mistake, but I knew better. A little patience and my lilies would have their day. When I got home that night, I put together the arrangement and set the vase full of flowers on my dining room table. That was last week Sunday. Everyday I looked to see if any “action” had taken place, but none yet. I was becoming a bit anxious, but I remained patient.

By Friday morning, one of the lilies began to open. The living room, dining room and hallway began to fill with its awesome aroma. By Friday evening, it had opened up even more . By Saturday, a few lilies had caught on and they too were blossoming. By this time, my entire home was filled with the fantastic fragrance of sweet lilies.

This is that bouquet today, exactly one week later. That initial lily that blossomed is still going strong as are those that followed. As a practice, I keep fresh flowers on my table and this one by far is one of the most beautiful and gratifying ones I’ve had — and the think it was free! What a blessing! I learned so many practical applications of humanity from this unassuming bouquet of flowers. First of all, be mindful of overlooking people that don’t fit the mold of who or what our society deems as having value. Roses represent society’s favorites. Unblossomed lilies — like those incarcerated or homeless— are low on society’s totem poll. They are too often cast aside and seen as being a burden to society. Secondly, see past where someone is right now and not only look into but speak into their potential. Had I not seen my lilies’ potential, I would have left them right there to be thrown-out or picked up and enjoyed by somebody else. Thirdly, have patience. Great things often take time to manifest. It took days for the lilies to come into their own. The process couldn’t be rushed. I just needed to be patient and trust that their beauty would soon flourish - and it did — more than I could’ve imagined. Lastly, many of the simply, truly gratifying pleasures in life — like a bouquet of flowers are right in our faces and free. Had I brushed off the person who invited me to partake of the flowers or thought it beneath me to do so — y’know “What might people think” — I would never be sitting here on my couch gazing up at a truly beautiful looking and smelling bouquet of flowers. 

Take time to talk to and listen to those who are overlooked. Visit those in prison. Feed those who are hungry. Make eye-contact with a stranger who seems to be having a bad day. Tap into our human connection. It costs nothing, yet It it is medicine for our aching souls much like these lilies have proven to be beauty for mine.  

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