Word Up Wednesday: Dandelions / by Donna Olivia Owusu-Ansah

As promised, I am continuing Word Up Wednesday by featuring reflections written during my Clinical Pastoral Education Internship. The following was written in April 2016. Again, Scripture was added and minor edits made to be shared here on www.reverendmotherrunner.com


You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
— Psalm 16:11

One of the things that I love about Spring is how beautifully pleasing this season is to our eyes. With the clear blue sky as a backdrop, in the Spring we see lush green grass. In the Spring we see beautiful blooms of purple and blue hydrangeas, yellow and red tulips, and pink and orange daisies. In the Spring there is beauty all around us.

In the Spring, as life blooms all around us, we also see yellow dandelions. I mention the dandelions, because I can recall, growing up in an urban environment very different from the suburbs of Edison, that dandelions were my absolute favorite flower. I remember being a child, walking home from Lincoln Elementary School, being enamored by these bright yellow flowers that sprung forth, not only in the grass, but in the cracks between the concrete of the sidewalks. I would pick them, and put them in my hair. I would pick them, and offer them as a gift to my mother after a long day of work. And the best part about the dandelions is that, when the yellow flower died, the white remains provided great fun for blowing. My friends and I could be occupied for long amounts of time, picking dandelions, blowing the seeds, and laughing hysterically as we did so.

It wasn’t until I was older, working at a prestigious school with lawns that were always perfectly manicured, that I learned that dandelions were not flowers to be coveted, but weeds that were a nuisance. One day, as I was walking across campus, I saw the head of school furiously and fervently picking dandelions from the grass. Dandelions that were a source of joy for me, were taking away from the school’s neat and perfect appearance. Dandelions that I once offered out of gratitude to my mother, were being plucked and tossed into the trash. Although dandelions have positive properties, most notably in the United States they are considered a noxious weed. They are an annoyance in residential areas and recreational fields. When there is an infestation of dandelions, they can cause significant damage to crops, which also has an economic effect.

But still, dandelions are a source of joy and fun for me. For a time, I had once abandoned the joy I had for dandelions, seeing them—through the eyes of others—as a noxious weed. But two years ago, when my first daughter was about one year old, as she was getting steady on her feet, we were out walking in the grass in our neighborhood. The exuberance she had from seeing, picking, and playing with the dandelions was refreshing. I was tempted to stop her. Dandelions are weeds, after all. But as she shakily made her way from dandelion to dandelion she smiled and giggled as if she had discovered a most precious gift. Some months later, we reveled in blowing the seeds of the dandelions into the wind. As she discovered the joy in dandelions, she helped me to rediscover my own joy. 

Image from www.pexels.com

Image from www.pexels.com

I was reminded of this today, because as I walked from my car to the hospital entrance doors, I noticed some dandelions on the grass. The dandelions, for me, are a reminder to remain true to my sources of joy. The dandelions, for me, are an invitation to see things through my own eyes, without letting the perception of others, influence my joy. What brings you joy? What makes your heart smile? What stirs up delight in your soul? Today, I invite us to revel in the things that bring us great pleasure, without letting the opinions and influences of others strip us of our joy. 

May I share a prayer with you?
Wonderful God, you are the Ultimate source of our joy.  Open our eyes to see joyous sights. Open our ears to hear joyous sounds. Open our hearts to receive joy. When the responsibilities of life seek to erode our joy, let us be ever mindful not to abandon the people, places, and things that bring us joy in our lives. Use us, we pray, to bring joy to the lives of others. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.