Wednesday, June 16, 2010
I found this poem in a book I picked up at the Childlight conference for $3 called Readings and Recitations for Juniors by Eleanor O'Grady.
The Discontented Buttercup
by Sarah A. Jewett
Down in a field, one day in June,
The flowers all bloomed together,
Save one, who tried to hide herself,
And drooped, that pleasant weather.
A robin who had soared too high,
And felt a little lazy,
Was resting near a buttercup
Who wished she were a daisy,
For daisies grow so trig and tall;
She always had a passion
For wearing frills about her neck
In just the daisies' fashion.
And buttercups must always be
The same old tiresome color,
While daisies dress in gold and white,
Although their gold is duller.
"Dear robin," said this sad young flower,
"Perhaps you'd not mind trying
To find a nice white frill for me,
Some day, when you are flying?"
"You silly thing!" the robin said;
"I think you must be crazy!
I'd rather be my honest self
Than any made-up daisy.
"You're nicer in your own bright gown;
The little children love you;
Be the best buttercup you can,
And think no flower above you.
"Though swallows leave me out of sight,
We'd better keep our places;
Perhaps the world would all go wrong
With one too many daisies.
"Look bravely up into the sky,
And be content with knowing
That God wished for a buttercup
Just here where you are growing."
I read it to my daughter before bed and it reminds me of some of the times when I'd wished I was a daisy.
When I first started connecting with our Nature Study group almost three years ago, I remember listening in to some of the conversations the women were having and feeling so incredibly ignorant and uneducated. They talked about books for their children I'd never heard of, theology I didn't understand, wisdom in parenting I hadn't known. It seemed to me that experience and knowledge dripped from every word they spoke. Oh how I wished to be a daisy like that - smart, well spoken, knowledgeable, beautiful, wise, comfortable in their own skin, handling their children with skill, etc., etc. Unable to participate in much of their conversation, I stood mostly silent, feeling... well, 'less than'.
It had nothing to do with their attitude towards me (which was completely welcoming and kind). It was my own feelings of insecurity and that awful thing we women sometimes do of comparing our internal worst, with their exterior best.
You know... where we take all our shortcomings and the horrible, sinful, selfish, ugliness we know of ourselves and stack that up alongside the beautiful, lovely, wonderful, very best put forth by others in public, sprinkled with a side of perfection attributed to them a la our ridiculous imaginations.
Well, it's skewed thinking at best. And so destructive.
I think I went home grumpy and looked at my kids thinking, "Poor things, they'll never have much of an education with me as their Teacher."
But the reality, which I've had to remind myself of time and again when I find myself feeling 'less-than', is that I am where God intends me to be. He is sovereign over all things and for me to think less of myself or complain about my situation is to complain against God Himself and presume that I know better than Him in all his infinite wisdom.
God uses our circumstances, good and bad, to shape, mold, and sanctify us into the image of Christ. All things are in His time, in His way, for His glory - not our own. So like the buttercup, we ought to look "bravely up into the sky and be content in knowing" that God wished for a you just here where you are!