Shortly after this latest surgery, when I had grown weary of sitting in a dark house alone day after day, I donned a couple of pairs of sunglasses, one on top of the other, and a hat with a broad visor, picked up my walking sticks, and stepped outside. It was still morning so as long as I faced west, the light was tolerable.
The dogs heard me coming and met me at the door, bumping each other out of the way vying for the first pat, tails wagging so hard and fast they might have been declared lethal weapons. When they saw my intent to head out into the open, they took off in that direction, Magdi stiffly romping, an old dog briefly reminded of her youth, and Chloe ripping circles around her, leaving skid marks in the grass.
Right after an eye surgery, the operated-on eye sees nothing but a blur of color for a few weeks. Although the two eyes are separate entities, each with its own plumbing and wiring systems, the other eye experiences some “sympathy pains” and its vision is not as clear as usual either. While I could miss the furniture, so to speak, details were difficult. As far as I could tell there were no individual blooms on the crape myrtles—each was simply one big blotch of color. There were no leaves on the trees—they were just big puffs of green, exactly the way a child would draw them. There were no individual blades of grass—the ground was just painted green, except way out in the field where someone had spilled a bucket of yellow paint.
I headed for that spot, my two bodyguard/playmates scampering around ahead and behind, sniffing up grasshoppers the size of mascara tubes. Our ten paws were soon soaked with dew and breaded with sand. When I got close enough to see my beautiful spot of bright yellow and knelt down, it was a thick oval patch of dandelion blooms about ten feet by six feet, between the mown field and the back fence. Dandelions! I laughed out loud. My spot of beauty was what most people consider bothersome weeds. There ought to be a lesson here, I thought, and maybe this is it.
Not many of us are long stemmed red roses in God’s garden, let alone rare and delicate orchids. I have met some fresh-faced petunias whose sincerity is obvious, some formal and well-dressed gladioli who can stand before a crowd and speak without fear, some pleasant and reliable carnations who seem able to function in practically any situation, and some sturdy daisies with a lot of staying power. But some of us are just dandelions, not very popular, not very talented, all too soon developing a cap of fuzzy gray hair. So do we use that as our excuse?
Do we sit back and wait for those other blooms to catch everyone’s attention and take care of the business at hand? Do we still do nothing, even those times in our lives when we are the only blossom in a field full of tares and thistles? Even a dandelion looks pretty good there.
That little patch of dandelions gave me the first real laugh I’d had in weeks. It got me out of a dark, lonely house into a world of sunlight (safely at my back), and a cool breeze filled with birdsong. My soul recovered more in five minutes than my body had in the whole week before. What might my day have been like without those humble little plants?
God has a place for all of us and he won’t accept excuses for doing nothing. It doesn’t matter if someone else is better known, better liked, or even a whole lot more able, especially if those someones are not present when a need arises. Stop looking at yourself and look around you—self-absorption never accomplished anything.
God is the owner of this garden and He doesn’t mind a dandelion or two. In fact, it seems like He made more of them than any other flower.
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work nor thought nor knowledge nor wisdom in Sheol to which you are going, Eccl 9:10.