Resurrection lilies are signs of hope

For relaxation, I love to watch old sitcoms, such as “I Dream of Jeannie.” And Sunday, I was thinking about one of Jeannie’s episodes.
In case you don’t remember, Jeannie was, in fact, a real “genie” in a bottle, which her master, astronaut Tony Nelson, found on a beach. And like all genies, she had magical powers.
As I remember this episode, it featured a southern farmer who was hit by severe drought. And, Jeannie, out of the goodness of her heart, made it rain.
Some months later, the farmer sent bushels and bushels of corn to the Nelson household.
Time passed, and the farmer brought bushels of fish. His farm had become a lake. And this time, he was begging to have Jeannie stop the rain.
But, in the meantime, Jeannie had become miffed at Tony and was nowhere to be found.
That story is an allegory of our community right now. After years of severe drought, everyone appreciated this summer’s rain.
Our drought has been so severe that even large trees were stressed, and some trees actually died.
So what a relief to have rain–lots of rain–and cooler weather! Gardens thrived, flowers flourished, and trees were restored.
We loved the rain. But, then, it became too much! Neighboring cities, including Wichita and Hutchinson, had flooding in the streets and basements.
Then last week, our little college town was struck by a flash flood. As the waters raced from the north, the highway under the interstate overpass was covered with three feet of water.
Bethel College had significant damage. The floor of Thresher Gym was ruined and likely will have to be replaced. In addition, basements in other college buildings were flooded.
And the home of our pastor across the street from the college had eight feet of water in the basement.
There are many similar stories in our part of the state–basements flooded, lagoons overflowed, and crops ruined. But still the rain keeps coming, almost every day!
Since loss from flood is rarely covered by insurance, it is a double tragedy–a horrible mess to clean up and a huge monetary loss.
But in this difficult time, there are some bright spots. Bright spots that give us a sense of hope.
Neighbours help neighbours. People do what they can–helping clean up and bringing food for the workers. Caring community comes to life.
And even as storms demonstrate ferocious strength, nature also gives us signs of hope. Just as the rainbow was a sign to Noah in the biblical flood, the resurrection lilies are blooming in central Kansas for the first time in several years!
Springing from the earth suddenly the morning after our flooding rain, the gorgeous lilies are topped with a plethora of fragrant pink blooms. They tell us the rains are good and they will stop in due time.
Resurrection lilies have many names, including surprise lilies, naked ladies (referring to their slender, leaf-less stalks), and magic lilies. These truly magical lilies bloomed at just the right time this year.
They remind us all, as Pippa said in Robert Browning’s poem, “God’s in His heaven/All’s right with the world!”
Write Marie Snider at