I meet the dandelions at their level.
On my stomach in the backyard, I notice the grass needs to be mowed–it’s getting on four or five inches tall. The bright yellow weeds poke their heads out, leaning toward the sun like she’s their mother, like that’s where they get the family resemblance.
Dandelions are an emblem of humility, I decide. They don’t think more of themselves than they truly are (spoiler alert: they’re a weed) but neither do they think less of themselves than they rightfully deserve. Look at the way they populate without apology, like the lawn is their Eden and the sun has just commanded them be-fruitful-and-multiply.
As a result, they’re the most unpretentious floret around, sprinkling the landscape with a quiet happiness, bowing left and right to the source of their life.
My proverbial hat to you, Dandelion the Humble. Out of curiosity, I look up the definition of “bow.” Merriam and Webster say it is “to cease from competition or resistance” and “to incline [the head] especially in respect or submission.”
The dandelions make me think of competing gladiators, those stubborn, resilient weeds of the Roman Empire. One bested warrior sinks to his knees before his opponent, bowing his head to expose the back of his neck, the fragile vertebrae and fibrous nerves that will shatter and split under the incising of a steel blade.
Or civilians, taken into captivity by an invading army, bowing to the General, entrusting their lives to him–their faith that, in ceasing resistance and submitting to vulnerability, they will be shown mercy.
∴ ∴ ∴
I think about mowing the backyard, to earn my keep, but then I would decapitate the dandelions. Besides, Mom and Dad aren’t making me earn my keep. I won’t have any dues until August, because I’m still paying rent at a house in the city.
I moved back home with three months to go because I need something from my dad that I can get nowhere else–a voice. A voice telling me who I am, what I’m worth. It’s also a season of refathering with God, the ultimate voice, which actually looks like silence, stillness, and afternoons in the sunshine watching dandelions grow.
It’s a season to observe humility. Learning the cadence of brokenness, openness, and receptivity like seeds of a dandelion that loosen with the slightest breeze, catching in the sunbaked earth, sprouting offspring. Learning who you are and where you come from, so your life will carryover the impact of one who is loved.
I bow to the dandelion, student of humility.
∴ ∴ ∴
One of the things God did voice to me was his promise to take care of me. Among the major transitions of the spring was my decision to write full-time. I stopped job-hunting, come what may, and started writing. And waiting.
And waiting some more.
And now I am stressing about how to pay rent at a house I’m living in. Bow to the inevitable penury of the life of a struggling writer!
Until I come out here, to these fields of green and gold, and hear the long-standing promise of a Teacher of humility: Look at the flowers, how they grow…they do not toil or spin, yet I promise you, not even King Solomon dressed as gloriously. If your Father so clothes the grass, alive today and fading tomorrow, how much more will he clothe you, you of little faith!*
Faith. The act of bowing before your lord, exposing the vulnerable places of your life, and trusting that you will receive mercy.
Humility. To see yourself as you truly are, nothing more and nothing less, as he dictates. And he says I am at least a higher priority than the dandelions…
Voice. To confess who you are, to speak it aloud. To know your worth and declare it. (Isn’t it the first thing they teach you in a writing class? “Find your voice. No one else can write like you.”) And how do you learn his voice–the ultimate authority on words–except to be silent and listen, to hear from the time you are a seedling that. you. matter.?
And how do you cultivate your inner voice except to bow to his, stopping your silly resistance to needing validation, submitting to the humility of receiving help, and demonstrating faith that people will hold your vulnerability with mercy.
Oh, to meet the Lord on his level! To be lifted out of the gravitational pull of worry and striving and self-sufficiency, to be like a dandelion of the field, casting her crowns.
Here today, gone tomorrow, I am a seedling on the wind.
But this fragile, soon-forgotten life is re-sowing seed of a simple, bowing promise: that love will take care of you, and never let you go.