I recall as a young child bringing bouquets of brilliant yellow flowers to my mother. It didn’t matter that the stems felt sticky or that both my parents cursed the presence of these flowers in the lawn. I thought they were beautiful!
And there were so many of them! We spent hours picking the flowers and then popping the blossoms off with a snap of our fingers. But the supply of dandelions never ran out. My father or brothers would chop off all the heads with the lawn mower at least once a week, but that didn’t stop these hardy wonders.
And for those flowers that escaped the honor of being hand-delivered to my mother or the sharp blades of the lawn mower, there was another level of existence.
The soft, round puffs of a dandelion gone to seed caused endless giggles and squeals of delight as we unwittingly spread this flower across the yard.
As I worked in my garden last week, pulling unwanted weeds out of the space that would become a haven for tomatoes, corn, peas and sunflowers, I again marveled at the flower that some call a weed. And I thought, “If only I had the staying power of a dandelion.”
If only I could stretch my roots so deep and straight that something tugging on my stem couldn’t separate me completely from the source that feeds me life. If only I could come back to face the world with a bright, sunshiny face after someone has run me over with a lawnmower or worse, purposely attacked me in an attempt to destroy me. If only my foliage was a nutritious source of vitamins that help others grow. If only I could spread love and encouragement as freely and fully as this flower spreads seeds of itself.
The lawns at my parents’ homes are now beautiful green blankets. The only patches of color come from well-placed, well-controlled flowerbeds. Chemicals have managed to kill what human persistence couldn’t.
I hope you and I can be different. I hope that we can stretch our roots deep enough that the strongest poison can’t reach our souls. I hope that we can overcome the poisons of anger, fear, hate, criticism and competitiveness. I hope that we can see flowers in a world that sees weeds.