Months ago, the class of 2020 was brought in to choose their class colors, song, quote, and flower for graduation. As we all know, the options were ridiculed as usual, voted upon, and the votes tallied.
My main focus is upon our class flower selection: the lotus flower. Upon a first glance, it’s a pretty flower, yes.
Many of us recall the lotus flower from our ninth grade English class when we read the Odyssey and learned about the Lotus-eaters. Some might know about a similar situation from Percy Jackson by Rick Riordian, where if you ate from the plant you couldn’t leave the place because your mind began to crave it.
Even the Bible mentions the flower, but only once, and it says it in Job 40:21-23 where it mentions that the lotus plant can cover an entire “behemoth.” Here, it is talking about a hippopotamus, but the word behemoth, as defined by Merriam Webster, means something of monstrous size, power, or appearance.
Not only are lotus flowers seen in the Bible and other literary works, but they are seen throughout history in many cultures with countless deities. Why is this? Because the lotus flower is a symbol of rebirth.
Ancient Egyptians believed that the flower would help carry over their deceased into the underworld and keep them safe on their journeys. They wanted their new life to begin as quickly as possible and to go on without a cinch.
The flower also symbolizes enlightenment in Buddhism, each step to enlightenment being symbolized by the different stages of growth in a bloom and each color representing a different concept to be enlightened.
Now, at this point, I’m sure you’re reading and thinking, that’s a cool English and history lesson, but what has this got to do with the class of 2020?
When we selected the flower months ago, we based it on nothing but looks. We knew nothing of the history. We knew nothing of the significance. We knew nothing of what was to come.
We did not know we would crave to see the lotus flower and our graduation ceremony.
We did not know we would be faced with such a “behemoth” of a problem in our last few months of high school.
We did not know we would go through a time where the world would experience rebirth and we would be enlightened in new ways along with it.
We did not know.
But we chose the lotus flower anyway.