The Life Cycle of the Dandelion
As I slog through a cold, wet Minnesota spring, I am encouraged to see the signs of life all around me. Neither the depths of the dark, frigid winter nor the downpours of the damp, tempestuous spring can prevent the excitement and life of summer from arriving.
I walked to work this morning with my umbrella plastered around my body, guarding against the beaded wetness of the May sky. I turned my eyes toward the ground, and suddenly I noticed a spark of yellow. A dandelion braved its way through the storm to reach for the hidden sun.
This hopeful little flower reminded me of another, brighter day in which my young son picked dandelions. The sun dappled his small hands as he delightedly scooped up the flowers, their yellow heads transformed into cotton balls of white. The white of wisdom. The white of weathered seasons. The knowing of life and death, and the gift of those seeds to the next generation.
Such is the humble dandelion. So many people call it a weed, but it is a miracle. Its flower has a short life, only a few precious weeks. Yet beneath the yellow youth and the white seniority hides a rebirth. You see, the dandelion plant lives a long life, or many lives. It throws its roots deep and it flowers many times.
Our life is like that of the dandelion. We live a short time on this earth. Like the grass of the field, the Bible says. Here today, gone tomorrow.
We start out our journey here with joy, little babies basking in the yellow sunshine of life. We grow and we see sorrow and joy, pain and healing. We end our journey with our hair cotton white, our minds full of wisdom, and our seeds to offer the next generation.
Too often, we anxiously pack our days full, a brimming suitcase ready for another opportunity that we think will bring us joy. Or, perhaps, we keep a full suitcase just in the hope of impressing others. Busy for the sake of busy.
Rarely do we pause to consider the end.
But is it the end? Like the lowly dandelion, our roots are deep. We are spiritual beings, throwing forth a flower and seeds into this sun, while our tap root firmly anchors us to the other side. We pack our suitcases for this journey, but we neglect to prepare for the splendors of eternity. In vain hope, we throw our seeds into the winds of earthly fame and glory, but we forget to save some of these seeds for the inner world, the world of understanding and wisdom.
No matter how much we call it a weed, the dandelion knows itself. It knows the wisdom of inner beauty and a life reborn. Do we know the same?