An Old Fashioned Lily
I wanted to buy a lily for my garden, the orange kind with grassy leaves you sometimes see growing on the roadside. I liked them, and I also figured that if it was rugged enough to grow on a roadside, it would probably survive in my garden. I do not possess the greenest thumb in the world.
I arrived at the nursery to search for my lily. This particular nursery is known for its vast selection of lilies.
“I want to buy a lily,” I announced to one of the employees, “an orange one with grassy leaves.”
“Okay,” she said, as if she thought that this was going to be easy.
She led me to the lily section. There for almost as far as the eye could see were multitudes and multitudes of pots all bearing the name of Lily. None of them were blooming at the moment, so we couldn’t tell which one was mine just by looking at them, so my assistant got out the catalog and started thumbing through the pages.
“You know, I’m here in section O for orange,” she told me, “and I can’t see the one you’re looking for.”
We continued to pick around the pots studying the labels. All of these plants had fancy names like, Elmira’s Favorite, Angel Wings, Sunlight Delight, Fluffy Gold, Pink Lemonade, etc. - nothing that came close to Plain and Simple Orange Lily.
I was getting discouraged. “I don’t understand. The kind of lily I’m looking for grows all over the place. Why aren’t they here?”
“Go ask the manager,” she told me. “He knows more than I do.”
She led me back past endless rows of greenhouses. I kept glancing in each doorway hoping I’d get a glimpse of my poor lily somewhere.
I was finally ushered into the manager’s presence.
“I’m looking for a day lily,” I stated, “the kind with grassy leaves that grows on the side of the road.”
“Oh, those,” he said with a considerable amount of disdain in his voice. “We don’t sell them anymore. That’s the old fashioned kind. Go dig one up.”
I could tell right away he was offended because I wasn’t swooning over his fifty zillion versions of ornate lilies. All I wanted was a plain, common, ordinary orange day lily; nothing fancy, just something that’s been around for awhile, a tried and true trustworthy flower; hardy dependable and – friendly.
I mumbled, “Thank you” and backed out slowly, nursing my disappointment.
I quickly sought out another garden center and made my request. Again I was told, “We don’t sell them anymore. That’s the old fashioned kind that grows on the road. Why don’t you go dig one up?”
At least she was smiling. Then she added, “There’s a whole field of them growing behind the church in town…”
I was beginning to think that was the only way I was going to acquire my poor lily.
“Old fashioned,” I thought as I left the store, “what’s wrong with old fashioned?”
I went over to the church and looked at the field that harbored my treasured lily, the old fashioned kind that nobody wanted anymore. And I thought of the Gospel, the plain and simple story of God’s love manifesting into a sacrifice for us; love impaled and resurrected to bloom forever. How many today reject the simple beauty of redemption and label it old fashioned in this new age of man-inspired doctrines that are as prolific as that collection of lily pots with all the fancy names. How many are seeking for the simple truth that saves the soul and bends the knee in humble adoration?
I walked into that field of simple beauty and I felt blessed that I had found a treasure; one bright orange lily just for me. Old fashioned, maybe, but never out of style. Of all the multitudes of variations I was fortunate to have found what I was looking for – the simple Truth that saves an old fashioned soul like me.
For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes.For God so loved the world,That He gave His only begotten Son,That whoever believes in HimShould not perish,But have everlasting life. Romans 1:16 - John 3:16
Copyright 2002 by H.D. Shively