Sparing the wildflowers

A Christian Science perspective: How letting love fill your heart and mind reveals loveliness all around.

On many weekends, my John Deere mower cranks up with a bang and a roar.

My wife and I have a couple of acres of grass to mow. I am under considerable pressure to keep the lawn trimmed as we have a neighbor, Smokey, who manicures his lawn to a T, and there is never a weed or an errant blade of grass.

Now I have a slight difference of opinion with my wife. She likes the look of Smokey’s lawn – neat, trim, consistent, a beautiful lawn. She sometimes asks, “Why did you leave those weeds in little patches all over the lawn? Why can’t our lawn look like Smokey’s?” She is very loving and understanding, but is also neat, orderly, and loves symmetry.

Well, I am a softie I guess. It seems that in my lawn there are always little patches of wildflowers, popping up in random places across the lawn. Mowing around the wildflowers has become a normal routine for me. I just can’t mow them down!

I love these hearty flowers, not planned or planted by me, but poking their spunky little yellow daisy faces up through the grass as if to say, “Hey, look at me, a gift from God! We are God’s ideas, enjoying this glorious day, basking in the sunshine.”

Now, in all honesty, these little wildflowers aren’t any special species of plant with “important papers” proving their “pedigree,” not famous flower “rock stars” with pictures displayed in the best seed catalogs; they are just there on their own, content to be humble representatives of God’s beauty, a gift for me to see and appreciate.

The lesson for me has come over time when I have seen not just flowers, but people, in certain situations and judgmentally asked, “Who do they think they are?! What are they doing there, and why are they doing that?” Perhaps it’s someone who appears to be different or hard to get along with; maybe someone who has a contrasting life philosophy; maybe someone who appears outwardly rude or indifferent; there could be any number of red flags that would bring up that old judgmental attitude. But when I think of the wildflowers, I remember that I should “mow around them,” appreciate any good I see in the people I encounter – don’t see them as nuisances, but see the good, even when it may be difficult to do so.

I love the wonderful promise of this statement from “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” by Mary Baker Eddy: “Love never loses sight of loveliness” (p. 248). I cling to that thought and realize that often when I see ugliness, it’s in my own thinking. When love fills my heart and mind, I can see loveliness all around.

Mrs. Eddy wrote of the beauty that expresses God’s love in the following way: “Beauty is a thing of life, which dwells forever in the eternal Mind and reflects the charms of His goodness in expression, form, outline, and color. It is Love which paints the petal with myriad hues, glances in the warm sunbeam, arches the cloud with the bow of beauty, blazons the night with starry gems, and covers earth with loveliness” (p. 247).

As for the little wildflowers on our property, grow where you are, little guys. Your beauty does not go unnoticed. I’ll still mow around you. And I’ll hug my dear wife and she’ll understand!

From the Christian Science Sentinel.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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