Weeds and Flowers
Edna loved spring when the weather finally got nice enough to allow her to tend to her garden. She wasn’t so big on growing produce, but loved the beauty the flowers added to her property. She was known in town as being somewhat of an expert on how to entice her land to yield bountiful and attractive flowers, and looking at her property proved it!
One particularly nice day, the precocious little neighbor boy came over and watched her work in one of her flower gardens.
“What are you doing, Ms. Edna? Why are you pulling those flowers out?”
“Because they aren’t flowers. They are weeds.”
“But they have flowers on them,” the boy protested.
“Yes, but they are weeds,” she announced confidently.
He bent down to help, wrapping his small hand around a tulip and plucking it up before she could stop him.
“Oh, no, Tommy. That’s a flower. I know you were trying to help, but that doesn’t get pulled up. I wanted that there.”
He cocked his head quizzically. “But you’re pulling flowers out,” he reasoned.
“Yes, I know, but these are weeds that just happen to have flowers on them. They are still weeds and don’t belong here.”
“Well, how can you tell the difference?” he asked innocently, genuinely wanting to know.
“You just learn, that’s all. As you grow up, you learn these things; what belongs and what doesn’t. You don’t want the things that don’t belong. They don’t serve any purpose They are throw-away plants. Just a nuisance.”
He stood his ground. “But if the flowers you planted and want there and the weeds you didn’t put there have flowers, they are both pretty and enjoyable, so they do serve a purpose. Both should stay. What makes a weed a weed and a flower a flower if they both have flowers?”
Edna was silent for a few beats. She knew he was right, but she didn’t quite know why or how to explain her rationale or her point.
“Well, weeds never did anyone any good,” she reasoned weakly.
“But they do if they are just as pretty as the flowers,” he answered. “I think they’re pretty, so I bet other people do too. So why dislike them and try to take them all out and not the other flowers? Besides, my Sunday school teacher said everything God put here has a purpose,” he added.
“People just don’t like weeds. You learn that as you grow up. Everyone tries to remove them. They might have a purpose somewhere, but not where people don’t want them. They just aren’t any good. I don’t know why, they just aren’t,” was about all Edna could manage as an explanation. In reality, she was beginning to wonder herself. Tommy had a point. If the weeds were pretty and not a problem, why dislike them and try to remove them just because they were thought of as weeds?
Tommy went home confused but Edna thought about what he said.
Isn’t that what segregation and ethnic cleansing are all about? People who think of others as inferior and not having a purpose where they themselves are located, so they attempt to get those people out of their presence? Some learn to think that way as they grow up.
Tommy would say there is beauty in them too, and that God has a purpose for them. So who do the others think they are and why do they get to think they are the tulips?