Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith? (Luke 12:27-28)
Everything is possible in spring. One day, we emerge from the bowels of Bass to find that the sun has returned and things are different. After a long winter of taking ourselves too seriously, it is a relief to find ourselves pulling ditsy floral dresses and salmon-colored shorts from our closets. We are picnicking on Cross Campus. We are laughing at a man wearing sandals. It’s all going to work out. Soon, it will be lily season.
In the Gospel according to Luke, Jesus tells us to “consider the lilies.” They do nothing but exist for a short while, and still God has made them lovelier than the finest clothing King Solomon could ever have worn. The full weight of this lesson hinges on a belief that the soul is permanent. Lilies die, but even for their short life, God clothes them to a point of excessive beauty. Surely, God will care even more for the immortal souls of His children than he does for these flowers. This is the ultimate Chicken Soup for the Christian Soul.
But even if you don’t go out for the whole “immortal soul” schtick, it’s not bad advice. Consider the lilies—really, I mean it. Consider that in this world there are things that will not last, or are not productive, and are still more beautiful than anything. What are these things? What does this mean to you? Why?
Spring is the time to ask and to consider. April is the fulfillment of the promise we made ourselves, to survive the winter. “It’s going to be good again,” I told myself on those long nights, and now it is. I’ve been making lists. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. There is an excess of beauty in this world. Maybe God put it here, maybe not. Either way, I hope I never receive it ungratefully.
Here are some of my lilies to consider:
- The dog-shaped puppet on display in the Beinecke, part of a reimagining of the Divine Comedy as an unrequited romance between a dog and her owner. Nobody asked for this and nobody needed this. The puppet is unwieldy and raggedy. Still, it brought tears to my eyes.
- The color of the shower in my house. It’s a terrible shower, either the temperature of Hell or Antarctica, with tacky brass detailing around the edges. I am eternally knocking over my mother’s shampoo. But it’s tiled in the most gorgeous blue, just a bit too green to be robin’s egg.
- At the last YSO concert, the musicians had to sing a few notes during one of the pieces. When they opened their mouths, I could see that they were smiling. Whether they were embarrassed or delighted, I don’t know, but I felt so close to them. We’ll all forget this in twenty years, but it happened and I was happy.