Petunia

Petunia

sad…drab…unclad

drained of moisture and colour

pallid green foliage, faded pink petals

limp, dust-laden

poor offerings in the blooming bed

doomed to leave the space she’d filled

among her fresh, vivid friends

***

down…trod…den

such harsh, final syllables

for a tender plant

a careless foot from an animal or man?

her branches lifted by the wind

one time too many?

***

lilies of the field, he said

more beautiful than Solomon

spread their loveliness

disseminate their splendour

freely, bountifully, for a brief day

and die…

consider, he said

Lyn Thiele 1/2017

I wrote this poem after I discovered a once-lovely petunia dying in our garden. I’m sorry I can’t show you any ‘before’ pics, but it was beautiful. The flowers covered the foliage with colour, every petal fresh and bright. The leaves looked lush and it was a stand-out loveliness by the wall of the house…until the weather grew stormy. I was sad that its vigour was gone and it looked so bedraggled. It made me think of the way Jesusdying petunia spoke of the lilies of the field. If I loved this plant, how much more must he love his own creation!

In his famous outdoor sermon Jesus looked at the fields nearby and saw some fragile flowers. He compared them with the magnificence of Solomon, that wise king of Israel, whom he dearly loved. In spite of Solomon’s wealth, they far outclassed his splendour. They were clothed with more beauty than a king, but they’d done nothing to spin their fabric. Nor had they worked to buy their fragrance or designed their glorious colours. They spent their lives glorifying their Creator!

I’d read this Bible story in Matthew 6: 28-30 and wondered: was God using this petunia to talk to me about something? An attitude I needed to address in my life? Yes. But I wasn’t aware of the details…yet.

A few days later I went shopping for some clothes to wear to a special event. I found something I really liked, but wasn’t sure if I should ‘waste’ that much money! It wasn’t that I couldn’t afford it, I’m just accustomed to being extra careful with my purchases. So I didn’t buy it, but went home and thought long and hard. Perhaps I should get something else?

‘Do you think it would be extravagant of me to spend so much money on one item of clothing?’ I asked Maurie.

He laughed and said, ‘Of course not! Go and buy it!’

During the night, I was reminded that Jesus saw Solomon when he was king. He knew him, spoke to him and loved him. He also saw the lovely flowers on their one day of glory…and he sees me! He knows me like his flowers and loves me. He gave wisdom to Solomon when he asked for it and he wants to give to me. Could I accept a new piece of clothing as a gift from him? After all, he provides the money I have. Yes! I will!

Jesus’ sermon illustration wasn’t meant to tell me that I shouldn’t have nice clothes, or a good home and healthy food; it was about my priorities. When I worship him first, and not things, my heavenly Father will give me what I need! Jesus said so!

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