It was a beautiful, sunny, late summer day – perfect for cleaning off Dad’s marker and pulling grass from around it.
Mom had wanted to place new flowers on his grave for his birthday. We couldn’t have asked for more cooperative weather.
As we drove through the cemetery, I looked out over the flat, rolling grounds. The green grass was marked at regular intervals by flowers atop brown grave markers.
Even from a distance, I could tell the flowers were artificial. They had a decidedly fake look to them. Most were faded and weather worn.
As I drove toward Dad’s grave, I wondered who declared it a good idea to “plant” artificial flowers on top of dead people.
Everywhere I looked I saw flowers…fields of flowers…fake flowers.
Our arrival at Dad’s grave quieted my musing. Dad’s grave with his bunch of flowers atop it awaited our approach. As I exited the car and walked around to assist Mom, a flicker of movement caught my eye.
A large Mourning Cloak butterfly fluttered erratically about, then hovered over an arrangement of large yellow flowers.
I watched as it touched down and then lifted off immediately. The flower had fooled the butterfly and offered it nothing.
I wondered how many times the butterfly had landed on fake flowers, expecting to enjoy a meal and finding nothing but emptiness and disappointment.
As I looked around, I realized she could go from flower to flower to flower and spend her entire brief life finding nothing real, nothing of benefit, nothing that offered sustenance. As far as I could see, there were no real, live flowers.
I wonder…am I artificial or am I real in what I offer those around me? Do I draw people in with the assumption that I have something to offer because I sound real and look real, but am so fake…so artificial that I have nothing to give?
What of the things you and I follow after? Are they real? Do they offer things that will sustain us and enable us to move forward in growth? Or, do they offer little more than a passing fling with something that looked good?
And, what of yourself? Are you like the butterfly, thirsting for that which quenches your thirst and finding only dry emptiness and disappointment? What a sad existence – going from fake flower to fake flower and dying without ever finding that which has power to sustain life.
Or, perhaps you are like the fake flower. You look good, attractive and inviting – but there’s nothing about you that provides nourishment or gives hope to those who are attracted to you. You’re dry and lifeless – artificial…a shell of what you should and could be.
Whether butterfly or fake flower – hope is found in Jesus.