Consider the Daylily: Part 2

After a few years, daylilies grow into larger and larger clumps, becoming overcrowded. When this happens, they don’t flower as much, and it’s time to divide the plants. Although this may seem traumatic to the plants, in the hands of a skillful gardener, the division and replanting brings additional, healthy growth and abundant flowering.

So it goes with us. Every now and then, we must go through division, trial, difficulty, testing in order to stretch, improve, and become stronger or more fruitful. No one likes these experiences. They can be unpleasant or even traumatic. But in the skillful hands of the Ultimate Gardner—our Heavenly Father—we can be confident that the result will be growth and abundant living, to our benefit and the benefit of the world around us.

Consider the Daylily


All over town, there are seemingly countless daylilies dotting flower beds and lining driveways and lot lines. Many are small and yellow, growing in large bunches of identical blooms. Others are large and bright orange, standing proudly atop tall stalks. Still others are blends of crimson and gold, purple, or white—those can be quite spectacular.

Magnificent or simple, each daylily blossom lasts only a day. It closes in the evening and fades, replaced by others the next morning.

Our lives are a bit like that. Each day we have on this earth lasts for, well, only one day. We can’t change yesterday, and we aren’t guaranteed tomorrow. So, all we can do is live fully into today and, to quote a plaque my grandmother gave me as a little girl, “Bloom where you’re planted.”

Some of our days are like the big bunches of small, yellow lilies—ordinary, unremarkable, similar to many other days. But we can work to make even those days beautiful and special. Other days are like the bright orange or crimson or purple lilies—those are days of graduations, births, promotions, rainbows after storms, phone calls from old friends, family vacations. Those days are naturally more notable and beautiful. Hopefully on those days, we can pause to reflect on the joy of the moment and be grateful.

Of course, there are daylilies that fail to bloom because of lack of water, bug infestation, or being nibbled by hungry deer. Similarly, some of our days are filled with disappointment, illness, loss, and struggles. But just as a daylily plant has many blooms, appearing day after day, we can hope for another new day and pray it blooms a little brighter.

To Every Thing There Is a Season

This week, after about 6 months of being a cancer patient, I’m done. Treatments have ended and most side effects are subsiding, and it’s like a switch was flipped in my brain—time to move on.

For the past several months, I’ve lived into the season of rest and healing, laying low, enjoying comfort food, and taking a break from exercise because I was sore and very tired. I gave myself permission to step away from the stress of work to finish up treatments and recover, and took frequent naps.

But now, it’s a new season. Time to get off the couch and exercise. Time to get back to eating right. Time to get back to health and put the “patient” designation behind me.

I’ve thought a lot lately about what I’m supposed to do with this cancer season. What impact does it have going forward? Am I supposed to be in some way changed or different as a result? And the answer I keep coming back to is, I don’t really know, but at this point, I don’t see this experience really being that different from any other. It’s just one of many seasons that has shaped and will shape who I am. Maybe it’ll end up having a big impact, and maybe not. Like many other experiences, I might not know exactly how it’s woven into the rest of my life until some later season, and I guess that’s OK.

Someone Will Always Have More

As a breakfast diversion, I was watching the Today Show (or maybe Good Morning, America—they all seem the same). One of the segments was about two NFL stars who went undercover for a day as homeless men to learn a bit about the people who live on the streets and to bring awareness to the issue. After airing the video footage, the hosts talked with one of the players in the football locker room, all cleaned up and back in his designer T-shirt, surrounded by jerseys and gear with his name and number on them. The hosts asked about his insights and, with furrowed brows, waxed eloquent about poverty in this country and the plight of people who are homeless. Almost immediately after that segment, they broke into surprised laughter while showing viewers a fancy pink designer handbag, adorned with gold and diamonds, that had sold at auction for $200,000, some sort of record. What a contrast in have nots and haves!

Later that day, I had a discussion with my son about the home of one of the boys leading a high-adventure trip he is going on next summer. After attending several meetings at that home, my son had become impressed with its size and furnishings and declared that this family must be “loaded.” Apparently this boy also doesn’t need to do any fundraising for the expensive trip, as we’ve asked our son to do. “It must be nice,” he said. He also shared that a big topic of conversation among some of his peers lately (all of whom are 16-ish) is what kind of car they’re getting or will be getting; he finds this topic annoying, he says, because we’re not gifting him with a car. He went on to tell me how his goal as an adult is to be rich like, he believes, most of his friends’ parents are. I suggested that he should aim, instead, to be a good person, help others, and have a career that makes him happy and allows him to live a comfortable life.

We live in a world of vast differences in wealth, from people who have more money than they could spend in a lifetime despite purchasing every toy and luxury known to man, to people who lack enough money to procure the basics of life like food, water, shelter, and health care. I told my son that just as he looks at that one boy’s family and thinks they have it made, there are others who would look at my son’s life and think the same—and I don’t just mean starving children in Africa, but other teens right here in the Pittsburgh area.

I reminded him that no matter how much money you make, there will be those who have more than you and those who have less. Unless you end up as the richest person in the entire world, someone will always have more than you. If your success is based entirely on your wealth, and your happiness dependent on how your wealth compares to others’, you can easily find yourself constantly pursuing more. You will never feel you have enough, will never be content.

But it’s hard to talk to a teenage boy about the more intangible measures of the good life, particularly when TV ads promote luxury cars as a sign that you have “arrived,” we hear often about the multi-million dollars our sports stars are paid, and many people are talking to my son about where he will go to college so he can get a “good” job in his desired field. Not that there’s anything at all wrong about wanting a career that will bring in a good salary—I do wish that for both of my boys, so they can have a nice home, take a vacation now and then, and provide for the needs (and many of the wants) for their own children someday. At the same time, I surely hope that we have adequately conveyed through word and deed that there is more to life than your bank account balance, the size of your house, the number of times you have traveled overseas, and the number of toys you have in the garage or media room.