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  • michelle m. davis

A Flower in Disguise

“The difference between a flower and a weed is judgment” – Author unknown

As I brewed a cup of chamomile tea this morning I noticed the above saying on the tag attached to the tea bag. Reading this phrase made me wonder – do I see weeds or do I see flowers? And what exactly is the difference between the two?

I’ve always had “a thing” about weeds. It’s as though I’ve viewed them as an enemy of sorts, blaming them for poisoning our beautiful flowerbeds with their obnoxious presence. Maybe this obsession for a pristine garden stems from my father’s side of the family – they owned a florist/greenhouse business – so of course weeds were something they, too, had little patience for. Regardless, I’m vigilant about picking these unwanted plants in our yard. Yet, it doesn’t end there. I tend to notice weeds wherever I go, often wondering why they don’t bother others as much as they annoy me.

But maybe a weed is not always a weed. How often have you nurtured and loved a plant in your garden, only to discover that it is not the perennial you had thought it was, rather, it was just a weed? And the reverse may be true as well. Perhaps you’ve pulled a few new stalks, thinking that they looked like undesirable components to your beautiful landscaping, only to later realize that you were pruning what would have become desired flowers.

This made me wonder what exactly is a weed? One definition called it an unwanted plant, another said wild plant. Exactly what made them “unwanted”? Plus, can’t the wild be beautiful? Was it possible that it was my judgment that was somewhat tainted, not the plants in my garden? Was I grouping what grew in our backyard into categories of good or evil? And was that fair? Aren’t some weeds actually flowers in disguise?

Maybe this is where judgment comes into play. How we see things depends on the lenses that we are wearing. Instead of perceiving the collective beatify of all of the amazing foliage in our backyard, I’d been using my glasses to zone in on the areas that I viewed as “not good enough.” If I was doing this in in the garden where else was I wearing those glasses? Was I labeling myself, others, and situations as good/bad or right/wrong, just as I had been differentiating weeds from flowers?

But what if I were to adjust the lenses? Could I alter how I observed life - both in and out of the backyard - from another point of view? Might a different perspective allow me to see that those things I’ve labeled as weeds were just a different kind of flower? Had I been judging people and situations unfairly as well?

This week I am going to try to shift perspectives and consider a “weed” in my life to be a flower in disguise. Maybe seeing it from another light will offer new possibilities for me to consider instead of being confined by my traditional viewpoints. Or perhaps it will prompt me to soften, surrender, accept that there is nothing I can do about that weed and just allow it to be as it is.

No doubt this might be a difficult task. But I’m willing to give it a shot because sometimes just the slightest modification in how we consider what is before us can have life altering effects. If I could eliminate judgment and instead offer acceptance, of others and myself, then maybe the stereotyping of weeds and flowers could dissipate, allowing for a diverse yet unified life garden.


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