Every morning and evening for the past week, I’ve driven the same road. And each time, as I round a certain curve with a certain field off to the side, I glimpse the dancing head of a red spring flower on the hill. A tulip – the kind that belongs in someone’s garden. Not a wildflower among its brethren, but a bright red beauty reigning lone amid the grasses. I have no idea how it came to grow there, but standing amid the wild green on the hill, it is more beautiful than a thousand of its sisters lined up in a garden bed.
This morning, I saw that tulip again. I was struck at once with how amazing it seems that the tulip has made an appearance again. Have you ever tried to grow a tulip? It might be that my thumbs are all shades but green, but I've killed a dozen tulips without ever seeing a bud...
I was also struck by the majestic beauty of this lone tulip in the grass. This rogue tulip, this lonely tulip, this tourist tulip in a place where she doesn't quite belong. She doesn't seem to mind, though, and she stretches her petals to the sun with abandon.
Those thoughts reminded me of a post I made a year or so ago on what is now my book blog. I thought the theme went well with the rogue, tourist tulip:
A few years ago, Chris's aunt treated us to a weekend in New York. On the way to some attraction, we stopped at a street vendor and bought hot dogs. This was such a "New York" moment, I had to get a picture of the kids eating hotdogs on the street. When Chris saw them posing, hot dogs slightly above open mouths, he said, "Stop that! You look like tourists!"
"But, we are tourists," I responded.
"Right, but try not to look like one. That makes you a target."
Lesson: Looking like you don't belong makes you a target. Although I'm not sure how dangerous it is to look like a tourist in a city filled with thousands of other tourists, I think middle school and high school confirms for many that "not belonging" = "target".
And so we learn, early on, to conform to the world. To wear the right clothes and say the right thing and fit in wherever we can. At some point, we stop looking at the awesome sights spread before us daily, we stop delighting in the wonder of the world, and we live as if we are of the world. What does our home, our yard, our daily coming and going have to do with wonder and adventure?
But the truth is, we aren't part of the world. We don't belong. We are tourists.
"If you find in yourselves a desire which no earthly thing can satisfy, the logical conclusion must be that you are made for another world." - C. S. Lewis
So instead of hiding ourselves in the world, instead of putting on the garb of the everyday and everyman, maybe we should be living like a tourist. Adventure in the moment, taking in the glorious attraction that has been created all around us. Really looking at what God has wrought and hearing the messages he writes in his creation. Messages for us.
"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12:2 ESV