Maybe it’s because we live in the country and don’t have a proper lawn, but I really like dandelions.
To most (urban/suburban) people focused on keeping that living carpet pristinely green, dandelions are a scourge, a pest, an abomination that need to be trampled upon, plucked out, and sprayed at all costs. And while the hostility is understandable, it’s also a bit sad when we consider we’re talking about a bright yellow flower that covers the hillside in spring with its blooms.
As a bonus, the flowers turn into white puffy rounds that many of us remember, as children, blowing into, oftentimes while making a wish.
Such is the difference between the thought process of an adult and that of a child, and while there are many advantages to thinking like an adult, we do it at our peril when we totally forget how to think like a child.
Jesus understood this, which is why he repeatedly urged us to look at children and emulate them — not the immaturity, not the lack of knowledge, not the naivete (all aspects, incidentally, which are abundantly found in people claiming to be adults) — but the sense of wonder, the humility, the acceptance of not being powerful and influential, and the ability to appreciate and enjoy the world around us for the simple reason that it is beautiful.
Dandelions are beautiful. In a rural meadow, blanketed with golden sunshine on the ground, dandelions shout with joy and invite us to sing along. It is only when they pop up in our perfectly groomed yards that we attack and kill.
In the world of flowers, dandelions are the rejects, never to be seen at shows or flower shops, although some people are willing to eat them.
But like most rejects, they are misunderstood, especially when they are in the wrong place, and if dandelions were as capable of thinking as they are of reproducing, they would feel very bad about themselves indeed.
We, however, are capable of thinking. And those of us who are followers of Christ in a world that worships power, money, cunning, manipulation, and control, get the idea that we wind up looking like dandelions on a suburban lawn — something to be dismissed, derided, rejected, and treated with contempt. We don’t fit into the suburban theme, and because we so supremely don’t fit, we begin to wonder if we are missing it all somehow because we’re . . . ugly flowers.
Surely, we muse, there must be some way to be believers in Christ and still manage to meld into the world’s mold of success and acceptance?
But we already know the answer to that — Jesus told his listeners in Matthew 6:24,
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
He wasn’t telling us not earn a living. He was, however, making the distinction between working to live and living to work, a distinction that is blurred beyond recognition in our own day, our own world. Too many Christians try to blend two very polarized ways of looking at things, with the result that we’re not very good at functioning with either one of them.
As long as our goal, our world, our place of living is the suburban lawn, we will feel like rejects and outcasts — which we are, in the world of suburban lawns.
But if we recognize that our home, our real home, is the meadow, the field, the wild expanse of nature’s great outdoors, and that children gravitate toward our happy yellow color, and that these children understand the sheer wonder and beauty of a field of dandelions, then we will stand up straight in the breeze, calling to the world to glory in the beauty and wonder of our Maker.
We make our living by writing and creating art, two very dandelion-like professions that are not cool, savvy, or sharp. But without art, our homes, offices, and lives are dreary places filled with technical toys and worries about finances.
Beautiful art gives us a glimpse of the fields of dandelions, and reminds us that suburban lawns are not mandatory.
Find affordable prints, home decor (throw pillows, towels, duvet covers), personal items (tote bags, phone cases, coffee mugs), and greeting cards at Steve’s collection at Fine Art America. Click on the image to the left to see the Dandelions page.