Cheap and cheerful, the fake flowers below add a dash of colour to the desk in my classroom. Day after day they are there. They do not change—the buds never unfurl and the sunflower never follows the path of the sun. These flowers do not need any attention from me, not even a drop of water or plant food. They are always the same and I can look at them whenever I want to without making any effort.
If these flowers were moved to a difficult-to-access location, I would not make any effort to see them, they have no intrinsic value.
But when our hiking leader told our walking group that the Pyjama Flowers were in bloom in the Nature Reserve, we went to great lengths to see them. We donned strong walking shoes, took hold of our walking sticks and put on thick layers of sunblock. We packed water and snacks in our backpacks and hiked uphill for several hours under the hot African sun just to see the beautiful flowers while they were blooming.
These flowers, with their petals striped with a delicate green as though they were made of old fashioned pyjama material, were well worth the long dusty climb. Their value lay not just in their beauty, but in their very transience. If we had delayed by even a couple of days, we would have missed them.
Our lives in this world also possess the quality of transience and are precious. The Bible tells us in Psalm 103 "As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field, the wind blows over it and it is gone..."
So let's cherish our family and friends, let's show them our love and appreciation while we can, for, like the pyjama flowers, each life is transient.