They raise their chartreuse heads above the frosted grass. At first, I am cheered by the bright yellow dots in my yard.
“It will soon be time for the garden,” I tell the cat. Her tawny eyes reflect with understanding.
But by the time dandelions lose their sunshiny tops and begin to climb higher, then sprout white seeds that blow all over tarnation, I am no longer thrilled by their presence in my yard.
However, I am amazed how they persevere through every winter and reappear all over the place. Even though I dig them out each spring, they ride the wings of the wind and once again mess up my plans for a weed-less garden.
Weeds are plants out of place. Dandelions are out of place among my peas, green beans and clematis.
But these same weeds cause me to reflect on the spiritual lessons God sends through nature.
Perseverance: No matter how many times I dig them out and throw away their roots, dandelions reappear.
They have conquered my garden spaces in spite of toxic chemicals, sharp mower blades and a shovel full of rocks. No amount of mulch deters their upward journey as they poke through the cypress sticks.
“Howdy!” they scream. “Here we are again!”
That same character trait — that infernal perseverance — is a core value I covet. No matter how someone’s words hurt me or what weapon is used against me, may I continue to persevere.
No matter what life throws at me or how many times my words are rejected by editors, I want to persevere.
May my daily journey always seek the Light, no matter how difficult the journey or how long I have to travel the same path.
Location: Dandelions sprout anywhere and everywhere — between sidewalk cracks, in the middle of rocky landscapes, even cuddled next to strawberry blossoms.
My hope is to be an encouragement no matter where I am — seated on the church pew, waiting in the long line for meds in Wal-Mart, while sweating out stress in the workplace.
Dandelions teach us location is not as important as vocation. A consistent life of character is the goal, no matter where we sprout.
The job may move us to another state, or even a different country with a foreign culture.
Circumstances of life may change our status from “married” to “alone.”
Yet with each new venture, we learn to sprout — to live again — to acclimate within a new version of ourselves.
Effectiveness: Although we kill dandelions in Kansas, some cultures nurture them for the greens and the tea. When these weeds live in the right place, they prove to be useful plants.
Every day, my breath wraps around the goal of effectiveness, to serve God and others. My work — forming words and coaching writers who make their own words — is to help someone else.
The stories I complete, the communication gifts God has given me, my very existence is focused on how to point others toward hope.
I want to be effective and make a difference. Every. Single. Day.
In the graceful writings of Colossians 3:23-24, the Apostle Paul reminds us, “Work hard and cheerfully at all you do, just as though you were working for the Lord and not merely for your masters, remembering it is the Lord Christ who is going to pay you, giving you your full portion of all he owns. He is the one you are really working for” (The Living Bible).
In spite of the spiritual lessons, dandelions are still not welcome in my garden. But as I dig them out and rid the landscape of their threat, they continue to remind me of a higher goal.
Even a weed praises the Creator who does all things so well.
So hope shines as we persevere through each day’s weeds.
©2019 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved
For more essays about hope, check out Hope Shines, also available in Large Print.