Friday, June 6, 2008

God Loves Orchids Just As Much As Poppies

My dad used to scare the hell out of me by quoting scriptures about the direst prophecies he could find relating to the Last Days. And then, when I was a blubbering puddle of goo, terrified out of my mind, I would say something like, "You make me feel like the vilest creature that ever walked on the face of the earth." And he would inevitably reply, "Well, there's no smoke without a fire." And then he would turn and walk away, leaving me to try, somehow, to pull the pieces together.

I guess he was trying to "toughen me up." Because when I left for college, I heard him tell my mother, "She's a hot house flower that's been coddled and protected all her life. The first cold wind that blows is going to shrivel her up and destroy her."

Well, Dad, I'm afraid it didn't work. But, I've now lived longer than you did, and I haven't shriveled up yet, either. But, I'm about to.

I've had to give up watching daily news broadcasts years ago. The Top Stories of man's inhumanity to man (and woman) began to so disturb me that I was unable to sleep at night, and when I did sleep, I would have nightmares. The only solution was to stop exposing myself to the source of my stress.

But, I *would* follow stores of natural disasters, because I find that floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, etc. always bring out the best in people as they are moved with compassion to help those whose lives have been devastated.

But, even that has turned into a mixed blessing.

Perhaps part of it is because of our greater ability to get news quickly with our modern technologies; perhaps part of it is the tremendously increased number of news agencies, each vying to be the first to report something new; I tend to believe it's because we are seeing the fulfillment of all those prophecies Dad kept quoting at me . . . . As I have followed the stores of typhoons, earthquakes, mudslides, hurricanes, fires, tornadoes, tsunamis, I have noticed a geometric increase in the number and severity of these incidents. (Outside of history books, who had ever HEARD of a tsunami 10 years ago??? Last fall, one of our favorite TV shows was interrupted by a tsunami warning!!!!! Here in California!! We don't have tsumanis - - - we have earthquakes!)

And now, the California Supreme Court, in a 4 to 3 decision, has chosen to open Pandora's Box and destroy civilization as we know it. Despite clear evidence that their flagrant disregard of the will of the people will not be allowed to stand, and in a rude gesture to half the Union who have already put Marriage Amendments in place in their Constitutions, and 10 states who begged them to hold off until an election could be held because of the legal catastrophe this will unleash throughout the country, these 4 judges have placed their opinions above law, above reason, above sanity, and have opened the door to chaos.

Well, Dad, I guess you were right. I must be a tender plant, because this has done me in. For the sake of my health, my blood pressure, and my sanity, I'm going to have to stop reading my email alerts, stop signing petitions and stop contacting senators. I've tried so hard to do what I can to support the causes I believe in. I will never give up my right to vote! And I will continue to pray that God will open the eyes and hearts of people throughout this state and this nation, that perhaps we may turn our feet aside from this disastrous path before it is too late.

But, I've been doing a lot of thinking, and I've come to the conclusion that God doesn't want a garden full of nothing but poppies and dandelions. Even in the gardens of men, there are beautiful, tender flowers that require care and protection, which some men are willing to pay vast sums of money to obtain and to care for. Some of these rare blossoms will whither if you touch them, but their beauty and fragrance is, to these collectors, worth the effort required.

If even men can find such value in a rare and tender plant, then surely God, also, has a place for orchids in His garden. And, if all the use the masses can find for flower blossoms is to strew them along the road so they can dance on them on their path to the cliff, then it becomes the duty of the flower to remove itself from the reach of the masses.

When the boys were young, and the world would begin to press a little too closely, we would "put our shields up," and play nothing but Sabbath appropriate music, and do other things to drive Satan and his minions nuts so they couldn't stand the atmosphere around here and would leave us alone. I have decided it is time to do that again, for my own protection.

Two years ago, Elder David R. Stone of the Seventy gave a talk in General Conference which resonated with my soul. I heard his words again today as I contemplated this posting:

"My involvement with the building of the Manhattan temple gave me the opportunity to be in the temple quite often prior to the dedication. It was wonderful to sit in the celestial room and be there in perfect silence, without a single sound to be heard coming from the busy New York streets outside. How was it possible that the temple could be so reverently silent when the hustle and bustle of the metropolis was just a few yards away?

"The answer was in the construction of the temple. The temple was built within the walls of an existing building, and the inner walls of the temple were connected to the outer walls at only a very few junction points. That is how the temple (Zion) limited the effects of Babylon, or the world outside.

"There may be a lesson here for us. We can create the real Zion among us by limiting the extent to which Babylon will influence our lives. . . .

"Wherever we are, whatever city we may live in, we can build our own Zion by the principles of the celestial kingdom and ever seek to become the pure in heart. Zion is the beautiful, and the Lord holds it in His own hands. Our homes can be places which are a refuge and protection, as Zion is."

(For the full text of his remarks, go to:

My home needs to be such a refuge. I need to build my own "hot house" so I can become the beautiful orchid God meant for me to be.

Sorry, Dad. I was never intended to be a poppy. Throwing dirt on a rose won't turn it into a dandelion. It's not easy, being an orchid. But, God has a use for me, as an orchid, which I could not fulfill were I a daisy. And so I shall retreat now into my Mountain Monastery to listen to the monks chant, to take the cooling waters, and to refresh my soul, and to try to ignore the raging fires burning down the forests around me.

1 comment:

  1. Joy is ready for her soapbox now. She has been reacting for you as I read this to her, and I will only say, "Poor Mommy!" and give you a hug. Here is Joy, who is flicking a knife up and down between cutting the lettuce for dinner and emphasizing her points ;)
    I have some words for past-Julene of love and encouragement. I find it very inspiring that you would go out to try to find your demons to tackle them [referring to the weather-related problems] because I usually only deal with them when they are brought to my face through God. I can't help but think, Mom, that you've become stronger because of your struggles that you've chosen to face.

    But I also honor you for choosing to retreat. All good captains know when to go forward in strength, and to retreat for protection, for increased strength. [D interjects that he would call it a strategic withdrawal] And I'm sorry if my words are not as well-placed as Derrill's would be.

    I look up to you and respect you. I love you. And I'm glad you're taking care of my mom.
    I came up with a new analogy recently. It's the analogy of the paper clip. If you take one of the ends of a paper clip and bend it out just a little bit, it'll pop right back where it's supposed to be. If you pull it out further, or frequently, or for a long time, it will spring back but not to its original position. In order to get back where you're supposed to be, you have to bend the paper clip end even FURTHER than it would normally be for a time, and then it will spring back to its normal position.

    Now, I generally use that to describe the repentance process - it's not enough for a recovering alcoholic to try to not to drink when he goes to be with his friends at the bar; he needs to avoid the bar altogether, which a person who had never succumbed would need to be less wary about. But it applies here too. We need to recognize where Satan can do us the most damage, and set up greater defenses there (see your favorite war chapters in Alma). And that will different for different people. That isn't being weak. It's being smart.

    About Grandpa Straw - a little bit of manure helps plants grow. A little too much won't hurt them, but may harm the ground around them. A little more than that, and the plant will whither because the nitrogen "burns" it. And a good gardener knows when enough is enough.