Eleanya Eke Urum: The Pretty Little Lily

3:00 AM


"Consider the lilies of the field
that even Solomon in all his glory,
was not arrayed like them."-Jesus Christ
There was once a pretty little lily, soft and lush, growing on the side of the stream. It was more radiant, more beautiful,more fragrant and more colorful than anything else that grew around it. It was the kind of lily that Jesus spoke of in the quote above. It was, for all intents, a perfect little lily. And it was content. It was joyful.
One day, the lily met a bird. The bird always came down to the stream to drink, and one day it struck up conversation with the lily. "What is it you do, lily?"
The lily thought about it. "I bloom."
"That's it?", the bird asked, incredulous. It had never met anyone who was content to just bloom. Didn't they get tired of just blooming in one place? Didn't they wonder what life looked like from the skies? Didn't they desire freedom and adventure? 
The bird thought about it all, and felt its own life more important. And he made sure to tell the lily so. Every day he flew away and came back with stories of far off lands, and jungles, and waters, and wind thermals that lifted one higher into the clouds. "You know nothing of such sights, and experiences", he would tell the lily. "All you have is this same stream and this same spot and the same boring passage of time." Then he would fly away again. 
Over the days, he would go back and forth, with more stories, both true and untrue. And as he told each story, he made sure to emphasize how much more important he was than the lily,and how much more interesting his life was, and how humiliating it was for the lily that it would never see such sights. "Do you know?" the bird said one day, "that there are, at other parts of the world, lilies who are ten times more colorful, more fragrant, more lusciously beautiful than you? Why, you barely even qualify as a lily, compared to the ones I've seen. You might just be a really colorful river weed." And he would laugh and fly off.
As the days went by, the lily came to be bothered by this talk. It began to wish that it too could fly to other places. It wondered about these other lilies whose petals were brighter and whose colors were richer. The rush of the stream, which it used to love, became tiresome and ordinary. It began to wonder if truly it was even a lily. Perhaps the bird was right, and it was just another plant of little consequence at all. 
And as these thoughts wracked it's mind, jealousy and envy consumed it. It forgot what made it a lily, and lost sight of it's own uniqueness. And as the despair and sadness filled it, it lost it's color,  it's fragrance and eventually, its shine. It withered, and by the time the bird came back, all that was left of the once glowing lily was a dry, empty husk. 
And the bird mourned, because in truth, that lily was the best lily it had ever seen. 
The End
************
This is a modified version of a story I read as a boy. I've forgotten the source. But it made enough of an impression to me, to learn this: if you always want to live your life the way someone else lives theirs, you will never be content. There will always be someone who does something you can't. Don't let the lives of others drive yours. Let your own life, and your own heart drive who you are. Learn the lesson of the lily. Learn to just be. It's a lesson I have to constantly remind myself, and I hope you're reminded as well. 
Eke blogs about finance, Nigeria, fiction and random thoughts at myrebelmoney
Follow him on twitter @eldivyn

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