Thursday, July 2, 2009


The natural world is full of the human, as human psychosocial ecology reflects the natural. My own inner struggles in the past few weeks and months have brought me to a soothing realization, yet one that I suspect could blossom in a bigger pot, given more time.

I was watching a movie the other evening with the English teacher and this scene provided the foundation for the meditation that has followed. (Protagonist is a wine connoisseur discussing 'pinot' a type of wine... referring to the difficulties in growing the varieties of grapes from which the various pinots are made)

...what determines the value of a plant? what characteristics of an imperiled species would knit a conservationist's eyebrows? Must it smell good? Possess a photogenic flower? Is it more valuable for being a survivor, on the edges of civilization? Do we love it for its hardiness, the multiplicity of the seeds it produces, or the thoroughness of its root system? Do we pity more the weak ones, or celebrate the tough ones? Could you appease a botanists desire to preserve a species of exotic grass by showing him Blue-eyed grass?: (technically not a true grass, but cut me some slack)

Pretty little thing... and common as a skeeter. I mean... who needs to go to the trouble of saving that plain-jane looking Congolese species when we've got things like this to look at? Really people...

But of course few would dare to suggest such a thing openly. The wonder and richness of the natural world is due in large part to the intricate complexity which even the most mundane ecosystem possesses. Losing another species is not tragic because that lost species was the flashiest, tallest, strongest or most fragrant. Rather... we mourn it because our world, in its absence, is just a little less interesting. It was, regardless of how it compares to the other roughly 270K known plant species on the globe, an awe-inspiring work of art... fascinating and precious for even a single difference.

The human genetic code (and infinitely moreso the human psychology) is more complex than that of a plant. You and I are not more or less valuable for our colors, smells, strengths or weaknesses either. we simply are valuable. Not a little valuable, or a lot valuable... we are valuable... you are irreplaceable, and no other plant can be you. No other plant can fill the niche you fill in your 'ecosystem.' If they did, it would be a different ecosystem, even if it continued to function.

The whole 'everyone is special because Jesus loves you' mantra has, for a long time, struck me as almost offensively cliche. This however... casts the tired old adage in an entirely new light for me.

God is a conservationist. when a heart is breaking, yours or someone elses... when yours or someone else's psychosocial 'habitat' is being ravaged by fear, bitterness, shame... and as you feel your petals paling... your roots drying... your leaves wilting... and you cry out... I like to think God's eyebrows knit, he grabs a steno pad, and laces up his boots.

If you have no other reason to love a stranger. Love them for that.

1 comment:

Paul said...

TRUTH; you have shared in this blog.
Thanks. We are, indeed, valuable just for who we are. God is lovesick for our crazy quirks and curly hair (especially curly hair :).

Oh, and the "protagonist" in the video clip explained things just like you would.... that is, if you were a wine connoisseur. I don't know if you noticed that fact or not, but I did!