Among sunflowers

Among sunflowers

Hiked 13 miles today, mainly alongside roads and highways. Not very scenic, but I did pass a few sunflower fields. Ended up in Carrion de los Condes, Spain at the Albergue Espiritu Santo.

I have passed a number of large and small sunflower fields in the past two weeks. I posted a few photos of flowers that caught my attention. But, today, I became especially aware of the habits and character of the sunflower plant. It turned into a valuable lesson in life.

It all came about because I was hiking mostly alone today. In reality, there is usually someone within sight on this trail should an emergency arise. I enjoy being in a group since there is comfort in familiarity. The worst thing about hiking alone is loneliness. Sometimes it hits you, and other times it just stalks you. Today it got me. But it was a good thing. It’s always in those lonely times that God seems to speak to me.

It started when I really considered the sunflower plant. I often leave town in the early morning darkness. That’s when the sunflower has its head bowed low awaiting that first ray of sunlight. Then it perks up and turns its face toward the sun and absorbs sunlight and energy all day. Then, at evening, it again bows low and rests for the night. After a period of time, it starts to lose the beautiful yellow crown surrounding its seedy face. It becomes more difficult to raise its head toward the sun. At last, it dies. That is, the plant dies, but the seeds live on. They are turned into oil or bird food or snacks we can enjoy. Or a new generation of sunflowers.

I thought about how we should be more like the sunflower. Our heads should also bow in reverence to God, and then our faces should turn toward the Son who gives life and strength.

My thoughts turned to folks in my life who were like those sunflowers, who had absorbed Gods sunlight and then passed on. I recalled a grandmother who meant so much to us. A young lad of just 15 who passed away one tragic night. I recalled a Godly grandfather who influenced generations. I went through the list of aunts and uncles who had left this earth. Elizabeth, Sara, Anna, Henry, Marion, and Roman. And then, I thought about my own mom and dad. Dad is 89, and this reminded me of a sunflower that has lost some if it’s golden crown. He has soaked up the light of the Son for years and now the energy slowly ebbs from him. I recalled other uncles still with us. John, David, and Andrew. It was when I got to David and Andrew that I was struck with an acute awareness. Many folks are fortunate to have one sunflower in their life who can be positive influences on them. I have an entire field of them.

And then a strange thing happened. I wept. I rarely do that, but there was no stopping it. I cried like a baby. I blubbered and snotted for several miles. I cried so much, I needed to drink water to rehydrate. You see, I became aware of just how fortunate I have been. I cried out, “Why God? Why am I so fortunate, so blessed? To have all these people who spent their lives soaking up Gods rays, then leaving those seeds of goodness and kindness behind to bless and encourage me?”

I didn’t get the answer to that “why.” I saw the town in the distance and blinked and squinted until my dry face and tired feet reached the outskirts of town at the same time.

When our heads can no longer lift themselves toward the Son and, like the sunflower plant, we die, will the seeds we leave for our progeny be a blessing to them?

There is still time to bloom where you’re planted, to turn your face toward the Son. Your children and grandchildren and great grandchildren’s fate may well be determined by that. I know mine was.

What our lovely readers have said about it:

  1. Ken Steckler says:

    Apostle (You’ll always be Apostle to me:),
    Great reflection, and insight, on this day’s inspiration! It gives me a great visual for reflection. I will add it to my gratitude list for the day. Peace, Brother! Padre

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