I mop the sweat from my forehead with the already soggy sweatband on my wrist. Summer tennis has it’s downs.
But it has its ups too – like fresh air, sunshine, much needed exercise, and that dear little buttercup over there by the net post one court over. Yep, growing in the middle of a sea of pavement on these hard courts, that little sweetie has overcome the odds to sprout in a crack the size of a thimble to bring cheer to my day.
Every time I switch sides of the court, I make it a point to pass by the happy yellow plant and draw inspiration from its tenacity.
Finally, during the third set, I comment on the buttercup’s uplifting presence to the three guys sharing my court. I don’t know them, really. We just met on the court this morning and recognized that we were similar skill levels and decided to play together. Their ages range from thirtysomething to near sixty.
Their responses completely flabbergast me.
Man #1: “How did that thing get there? I’ll pull it up next time we switch sides.”
Man #2: “I have some weed killer in my trunk.”
Man #3: “Now why did you have to point that out? It’s going to drive me crazy until we rip it out.”
What??? Are you kidding me? Every single one of them see that beacon of beauty and courage as an aberration to be uprooted and discarded.
Of course I understand that their experience colors their view – these are all men who have been trained for years by society and their wives to seek and destroy any extraneous entities defacing their immaculate lawns. And I realize that buttercups are, by most standards, considered weeds.
But of that I do NOT agree. My childhood memories are rich with buttercups dotting the field by my house, abundantly present in their magnificent amber glory on dewy summer mornings for me to tenderly caress, hold under my sister’s chin to confirm her affinity for butter, and gather in a lovely bouquet to express my everlasting love to my momma.
If that’s not the definition of a “real” flower, I don’t know what is.
So when these guys can’t see anything but nuisance in this clearly delightful creation right from Papa God’s own hand, I see that it’s my mission to enlighten them.
But alas, they will not be swayed. Especially because there’s three of them and one of me.
So we must agree to disagree. It’s all a matter of perspective: vexation versus inspiration. Pesky weed versus purveyor of pleasure. Worthless versus priceless. Something that should be eliminated or valued.
Like so many other times in life, our perspective makes all the difference.
What about you, my friend? How do you see a buttercup?