My spouse and I have a row of day lilies that bloom every summer. One of our favorite past times is sitting on the porch, hot morning drink in hand, and watching in awe as petals open to the sun.

This year we planned a vacation, not realizing that it would coincide with blooming time. Hoping beyond hope that our wishes would rush the process, the day lilies were more patient. The first blooms opened in glory as we were driving away.

Those flower, I thought, will bloom whether anyone is watching or not. They don’t need an audience. By contrast, it seems, humans do. We strategically show our magnificence when there is something to be personally gained. Our tendency is to need a payoff, even if it is to have our generosity and selflessness duly noted.

The real question these day lilies ask, I think, is who are we when no one is watching? Can we bloom without the need to be noticed?

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