Sometimes it is in mundane, everyday moments that we receive insights about life on this earth and its relationship to eternity.
I was hanging some rugs out to dry on the old-fashioned clothesline in our yard when I heard the rustling of the gold and red leaves on the nearby trees. It was almost as though they were chattering to each other, having a rushed, last conversation before they fell to earth to die. And I thought: “But there will be new leaves again, next spring. Life will be renewed, according to our Creator’s design.”
And I remembered that according to His design, we, too, will be renewed. We will be resurrected. Jesus died not only for our sins, but so that we, as He did, may come forth again (Isaiah 25:8, 26:19).
I am old now. The number of my future autumns seems far more limited than when I enjoyed the gold and red of fall leaves as a boy. But in the chattering of those leaves I hear whisperings of hope.
There will be a spring, and new life, and that life will be eternal. Jesus said so (John 11:25, or Moroni 7:41 in the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ).
My wife loves flowers. It’s a struggle to maintain a garden in the area where we live, with its short growing season, the hardy, fast-growing weeds, along with deer and other critters who like to dine on plants at her expense. But outside our door every morning, her flowers offer a day-starting burst of beauty.
It’s hard to decide which are more beautiful: Lilies? Irises? Columbine? It’s impossible to judge between them. I joke that I have a nodding acquaintance with flowers; I can’t tell you all about them, their names, their characteristics, but I can appreciate the beauty of every one of them.
My appreciation for flowers started early because both of my grandmothers loved flowers. Like others of their generation, they grew things they could eat, but they had to have flowers as well—definitely roses, but also irises, daisies, hollyhocks, and others.
Living in semitropical areas of the world introduced me to a whole different range of flowering plants. It convinced me that there is far more beauty in this world than I will ever have the opportunity to experience personally.
Some hardy flowers can be found almost everywhere. Sunflowers, growing in the harshest of environments, constantly turn their faces to the sun anyway.
Some flowers are unwelcome, and I don’t always understand why. Who was it that declared dandelions are weeds and must be eradicated? I understand that they’re pushy and want to take over too much space. That can’t be allowed. But have you ever studied the beautiful, divinely designed structure of their yellow faces?
Jesus used flowers to make a point about how much Heavenly Father cares for all His children, in one of my favorite scriptures, Matthew 6:28-33. “. . . Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; . . . Even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
“. . . If God so clothe the grass of the field, . . . shall he not much more clothe you, o ye of little faith? . . .
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all of these things shall be added unto you.”
The magnificence of His flowers shows the love and care He put into their creation, but He cares even more diligently and tenderly for us, His children.
Do we appreciate His other children as much as we do His flowers?
There are powerful forces in the world today that work to divide us. Most of us see ourselves first as members of ethnic, gender, social, political or economic groups, before we think of ourselves as children of God.
That is the devil’s work. Jesus did not think of people in terms of divisions that separated them. In fact, He often condemned those who sought to put people in different classes. When we ask that the needs of our class or group be served first, we may be asking that something be taken away from the rest of humanity.
In His Sermon on the Mount, He said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: . . . the meek: . . . they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: . . . the merciful: . . . the pure in heart: . . . the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:3-9). He made no distinction as to class, color, wealth, or popularity. He pronounced blessings on those who sought the things they saw in His divine example.
Modern revealed scripture offers this insight on our Redeemer’s loving generosity toward mortals on this earth: “he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; . . . and all are alike unto God” (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 26:33).
The world would be better if we all stopped looking at people as members of ethnic, gender, social, or political groups and began looking at them as children of God with equal opportunity to come unto Him.
In the eyes of the world, every flower is not clothed the same. But in His eyes, there is beauty and value in every one.