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Monday, May 01, 2006

Sunflower in Cement


Once in a while, when I'm driving along- I actually DO look out the windows. I remember in drivers' ed, the instructor would say "Shaw, look around once in a while, enjoy the scenery." Most often, within minutes of the prior quote.. He'd then shout: "Shaw! Keep your eyes on the road--- you can talk without looking at the person you're talking to!!!" ( I've ALWAYS hated it when people use your surname as an address.. It's so annoying)

I still have a tendency to go one of those two ways.... hyperfocusing on the task at hand, and missing the scenery, or looking around and not paying any attention to the task at hand.

A while back- I was driving on an overpass--- looking out the window with all the attention my ADD mind can attain.... when I noticed a sunflower, growing up thru the cement. ADD has it's high points- I gotta admit. We tend to notice little things that others over look--- like sunflowers in cement. ;)

In Michigan, sunflowers usually grow in fields. Garbage, broken bottles and kids on bikes making me nervous, are usually along the sides of overpasses. Sunflowers, usually aren't.

It was blooming, right there. I was amazed.

A confession...while I enjoy them... I don't GET plants. They baffle and amaze me.

I was long ago voted "Kervorkian for houseplants" because of my unique ability to only bring home the plants that apparently desire to end their miserable lives. For me- they are a futile exercise in terrain. By which I mean- the pots become little OASIS' of different terrains through-out my home... desert in one pot- swamp in another, mud bog in yet another.

In my experience- growing a healthy plant requires more than happenstance. Maybe that's why that little sunflower caught my eye.

I was amazed- that in the dry heat and narrow crack- the seed could fall- just right, then grow, the roots could dig their way (doggedly) to the soil, find nourishment and bloom. Not to mention- it's unique ability to NOT be squashed by traffic, whether on foot or by car.

Maybe it was because it was during a very difficult struggle-that I saw it. One where I found my self a Christian "Nomad"... after 15 years at our home church, we went thru some circumstances that caused us to leave. Not knowing where we would go.

I had been so safe in my little Christian "terrarium". I knew the people, I knew the place, I had grown up (spiritually) there. Then- like that little sunflower- I found myself planted in a dry rough patch of land.

It's taken a while to start to grow roots, to start to bloom. I don't think it's because of the physical place I found myself in..... but because of the emotional one.

People aren't plants. When we're uprooted- from relationships, from routine etc... we grieve. Even a good change can produce a healthy grief. I remember thinking- during this time of transition... I cant DO this. I can't be replanted.... I'll die. Spiritually, socially, emotionally. I was afraid I'd wither up and basically- croak.

Grief of all types feels like this. It feels overwhelming. It feels dry, it feels desolate.

But- like all seasons- grief changes. When I saw the sunflower growing in the cement-- I remember feeling like I had choices. Even in the grief of my uprooting... I could bloom. I can grow where ever I am planted.

It's been a couple of years now. The grief has changed. Though it revisits on occasion.

Sometimes I still feel a bit Nomadic. Not quite firmly planted. We are without a building at our new church. It's in process.... as are we all. Someday a building is to be built. The building will only HOUSE the church. The church isn't a building, it's the people.

I'm not sure how you're feeling today... but I'd like you to take a look around....all these beautiful spring flowers-- growing out for winter slush and mud--- or maybe even growing in hard dry pavement cracks... they can remind us--- to bloom wherever we are planted.


Dear Lord- I admit to not always understanding your plan for me-- but I DO trust that you have one. I also trust, that whether a place feels dry- or like a narrow crack in the cement- that you can caause me to grow and bloom. I pray that you do--- I love you Lord- amen.

Jeremiah 29:11

11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

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