“People are flowers,” an elderly church lady named Miss Rebecca once told me.
She was a white-haired sweetheart who made poundcake that was good enough to make strict Baptists take the name of Andy Griffith in vain.
Anyway, there are a lot of ideas on life. Some folks think life is a journey. Like hiking a mountain with the Boy Scouts—who usually smell like the backend of a filthy goat.
Everyone has their own ideas, but if you ask me, we’re flowers, like Miss Rebecca said.
Bear with me here.
Flowers are pretty. And that’s what you are. Pretty. You make life pretty, just by being alive. You might not feel pretty right now, but maybe that’s because it’s not your season.
We can’t all bloom in April. Some of us have to wait until July. But you will bloom. Soon. I promise.
Maybe you’ll turn into a purple violet. Maybe you’ll be a red tulip, or a rose. Maybe you’re a magnolia. Or maybe you’re like me.
I am a common dandelion.
I know being a dandelion doesn’t sound like much to get excited about. And believe me, it took me a LONG TIME to be happy about being one. But this is only because most folks call dandelions “weeds.”
For many years, that’s how I thought of myself. And that’s why I’m writing this to you.
Dandelions aren’t weeds. They might be overlooked, unwanted, uncared for, and sprayed with pesticides, but they are flowers.
Yes sir. Dandelions are strong, and bright, and yellow. We open every morning to the sun. We close at night. We have the longest flowering season of ANY dadgum plant out there.
Roses might be breathtaking, but we are long lasting. And if we’re lucky, after we die, some grade-school kid will blow our fuzz into the wind.
Our seeds can travel miles and miles. And we can cover entire hillsides.
Show me a rose that can do that.
We dandelions grow in all sorts of ordinary places. That’s just how we are. We take spots no other flowers want and make them colorful. Front lawns, ditches, the cracks of sidewalks, the dumpsters behind the Circle K. That’s what we’re good at.
Take me, for instance. I grew in the median along an interstate. And I was like lots of dandelions—I didn’t think anybody knew I existed. Or cared.
Across the highway, I could see prize-winning flowers. Big manicured blooms in flower beds. A landscaping crew took care of them and fed them every morning.
They were bright. You should’ve seen them. The purples, reds, whites, oranges, pinks, and blues. I wanted to be them. I wanted to be a real flower.
But life doesn’t work that way. You don’t always get what you want.
Even so, I’ll never forget the day an old man made a bouquet out of me. He picked me—along with a lot of other wildflowers. He put me into a vase, and kept us on his table.
For the first time, I mattered. And even though I can’t be certain, I think my yellow color made him smile.
Of course, the life of a dandelion is short. We won’t live forever. But maybe, just maybe someone will put me to the wind one day. Maybe my short life will have meant something to this world.
Maybe my seeds will travel in the breeze and grow along the interstate. Or in a trailer park. Or in the Walmart parking lot.
Maybe some kid who’s having a bad day will find me and remark: “Look, Mom! A flower!”
Anyway, I got a little carried away. I’m sorry about that. What I really meant to say is:
You are important.