Lilies of the Field

Why are you anxious about clothing?
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow.
They don’t toil, neither do they spin.

So says the bible. This saying along with the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard long ago convinced me that God hates the poor.

 
Before and during the Big Dig Project in Boston, there were two lilies in particular I remember. One was this old, twisted, dirty, broken, pear tree growing in some broken up gravel in a parking lot crevice between a fence and a concrete support left over from something but I never knew what. The other was some kind of yellow flower growing in a crack in the construction barriers between the northbound and southbound lanes of Interstate 93 that was an elevated highway at that time.

 
The pear tree had been growing in that same spot for so long that part of the parking lot fence was encased in its bark. It never grew to more than six or seven feet talk. Its bark was wrinkled with cuts and ridges, there was no smooth part anywhere on it. It probably tried to grow higher but could never make it, someone or something would always wind up breaking any branch that got too far from the trunk. I watched it for about four to five years come to life every Spring, put out skinny green leaves, and then some sad excuses for white blossoms. Then at some point in late Summer, it put out a small handful of the smallest yellow and black pears that I had ever seen. I had no idea how long it had been growing there. Given the fence encased in its bark, it must have been quite awhile. No one watered it, no one fertilized it, no one took care of it, and no one cared for it. Most definitely, no one talked to it and it never had a companion. Yet, regardless of Summer heat, Winter cold, flood, or drought, it lived. Almost every workday I saw it as I walked by; it seem to me to be one of the most beautiful of lilies. One night, the Big Dig decided to rip up the parking lot. Next day, I went to work and it was gone. Gone without a trace, as if it never had existed.

 
In crossing over Interstate 93 via a walkway that existed at one time, one year in the Spring I saw this big yellow flower growing in a crack next to one of the highway’s north-south lane barriers. Traffic on one side was traveling six inches to a foot away 24/7 at 65 mph on average during non rush hour. During rush-hour, I would guess thousands of cars crawled by it every hour. It was a big bright flower, I could see it clearly a good 50 – 60 feet away, but I never knew what kind it was. No one watered it, no one fertilized it, no one took care of it, and no one cared for it. Yet, regardless of the Summer heat and the Summer drought of that year in which it barely rained in July and August, it lived growing in concrete. Every workday I saw it live its solitary life either from my office window or walking by on the walkway; it also seem to me to one of the most beautiful of lilies of that Summer. One night in late Summer, the Big Dig closed that section of highway and ripped up the barriers during the night. Next morning, I went to work and it was gone without a trace, as if it never existed.

 

This is how God takes care of his lilies of the field. More accurately, this is how His lilies take care of themselves in spite of having Him as caretaker.

 

In the area where my beloved pear tree and highway flower once grew, there now are some gardens of the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway maintained by the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy. These Greenway gardens contain a wide variety of all types of flowers, including so-called “wild flowers”, in carefully manicured plots that are well maintained, well watered (usually with a sprinkler system), well fertilized, and above all maintained by design in an organic and “natural state”. Humanity’s “lilies of the field” consisting of idle rich Boston philanthropists and their chosen government agents, artists, and humanists who make up the Conservancy would not allow their wage workers to maintain their gardens in any other way. Often, the Conservancy has meetings in the gardens in which they discuss the beauty of the world they have created in their image to which they invite visiting “artists” whose “art” is a further topic of discussion. One year, artist Janet Echelman at a six-figure cost hung a big multicolored net between buildings above a portion of the Greenway gardens so that the Conservancy’s gods and lilies of the field could look up at it and experience the beauty of her art as if it were a sail moving in the wind — like the sails moving around for free in Boston Harbor just a couple of hundred feet away. The purpose of this expensive art was so that these gods and their lilies of the field while in their gardens could look up to their heaven and feel how exceptional they were for being able to appreciate such art instead of thinking it to be a complete waste of their trust fund money and of tax dollars as most hoi polloi would think.

 
Well, they can all go fuck themselves. Individually or in combination, the pear tree and highway flower in their struggles for life whether in concrete or in the farce called the natural world were more beautiful and have given me a collection of more beautiful and inspiring memories that are a further basis for both philosophical and pragmatic thought than anything the Conservancy, its demigods or lilies of the fields, or their self-centered delusion called art have ever done or will do.

 
On this presidential inauguration date, a few will celebrate their notoriety in history gained at the expense of millions of forever unknown souls. Most workers once they have some time to contemplate after work celebrate only “meet the new boss same as the old boss” instead of being followers who cry for or worship their old or new leaders. In memory of my parking lot pear tree and my highway yellow flower and the billions of God made not demigod made lilies of the field who have made this world and hopefully will make the future once they renew their will to power and fight the powers-that-be, I publish one of the few citations from a President’s inauguration speech that are worth knowing and repeating:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt

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