Imagine this: a field of flowers. There are such a multitude of types and colours that almost every flower is unique. Now focus on the flower slightly to the left of your vision, on that plant there. You will notice it – it is a touch brighter than the rest of the flowers, and it has by far some of the best petals in sight – those waxy ones which usually look pinkish white, and seem to spread out forever. It bloomed early, so it encompasses all of the buds around it. Look at this flower. How, you think, could this flower be any less than brilliant? It stands out so much, and is the opposite of plain. All of the other flowers would bow down to this single flower on this single bush, if flowers could.
The problem with the flower is that it is alone in this world. It has no other flowers which have budded like that flower yet. It has seen no other flower, beautiful or plain, to tell it otherwise than that it was alone. And so it as adopted the notion that it is boring, nothing special in the world. Just a flower which was useful for shading the ants below.
When the other flowers started blooming, the flower got a different perspective. 'Why,' it surely would have exclaimed if flowers could talk, 'I am not normal after all. Here are all these purples and pinks and yellows, and yet I am still brighter than them all. Look at how my petals do not droop so much when it rains. I must be different.'
In order to spare you the flower's lengthy monologue (for the flower surely would talk much if it could gather up the will to speak), I will summarise: the flower felt worthless. It felt as if it was too flamboyant to fit in with the neighbouring flowers, and its only dream was then to be a little less large and a little more delicate, to fit in with the flowers around it that it so often longed for.
Soon this wish started to rot in its heart. It rotted so much that eventually the flower lost its dream to talk. It lost everything but the feeling of how it was inadequate, and possibly even some of that too. It was different, perhaps just a bit too flamboyant, it always thought. The flower hated that it was so.
Now I ask you to turn your gaze away from our dear depressed Hoya. Instead look at that ant – I am unable to give you much description, for all ants look the same. It is just an ordinary black ant, nothing too special about it. But look at it all the same. That ant, it too has a story.
The ant currently rests underneath the shade of a flower, as it takes a break from its toils and looks at life.
The ant does not want to look the same, to be the same as others are day after day after day. The ant wants to run away from its colony, make its own life for itself. The ant does not want to serve the better good, but rather only itself. Selfish? Yes, perhaps, but it had little choice of being an ant, and even less choice in staying an ant. It did not want to live with the hands that it had been dealt.
The problem was – and why it had not left the colony sooner – was because it couldn't. The ant would be alone, and that would break it.
It would not be broken.
The fire in its heart would smoulder, and perhaps burn up into a fire every so often, but it would never be acted on. The fire was there to keep the ant sane, not to inspire it.
The ant is wise, but I fear that – if ants were capable of regret – it will regret this the deepest throughout its life.
Pay careful attention, now, to that blue butterfly. This butterfly, in its flying around the field, had noticed both the flower and the ant. It never noticed anything odd about either of them. Just an ant, just a flower. To that butterfly, everything is equal, and all is right with the world. Why would these things have any cause for sadness, when a bright sunny day is all that there is to long for? The butterfly may be called ignorant, or naïve, but it has wisdom. Why would our wax flower or worker ant ever want for more than what they have? There is no reason.
There is no reason at all.
The butterfly lazily flutters over to the flower, resting on it for just a moment, but in that moment, unbeknownst to the butterfly, the flower started to heal. It knew that it wasn't totally deserving of the hate it bestowed itself, for it was worthy enough for a butterfly to rest its weary body on. Little things like that, we must hope, will come in trickles into the flowers life, slowly making it a bit brighter and bolder than before as it heals. Maybe one day, the flower will gather up enough strength to finally cry out to the world, 'I am here! I exist!'
Maybe someday it will realise just how important it is in sheltering ants who need to res, just for a moment, under the shade of a low hanging flower, as they regroup their thoughts.
You may wonder, why do I point these creatures out to you, in a garden that only exists in your and, to an extent, my head – but who are we to see the exact same imaginary field? I would simply like to point out the highlights of the garden. Maybe you will pay more attention to it yourself, from now on. You would be surprised at how much life bustles under the twigs and the thorns – maybe if you opened your eyes – and actually really opened them, opened them to the emotions of others – you could see real gardens too, and the people who gaze at them, too.