They creep into your life out of nowhere. You are not afforded any warning signs of what is about to begin to you. Many men lament about the evil they bring into their lives. Suddenly, they take over your . . . lawn.
Dandelions are a force to be reckoned with in the spring. After hibernating all winter, they awaken in the spring and try to suffocate your lawn. The problem with dandelions is that they eventually crowd out the nice grass that is trying to grow. The new grass that is trying to come to the surface is suffocated by the presence of the dandelions.
If any of you has ever done yard work, you know that ever attempting to have a lush lawn takes a lot of time, effort, and money. When we moved into our home, no one had lived here for well over a year. Certain areas of the yard were bare from where a children’s swing-set used to be. Tulips (or flowers that were masquerading as tulips?) had been growing at random spots in the yard. And the dandelions, they were overtaking every inch of the yard that the crabgrass had not laid claim to.
My first task was to see what tools I had. Since I am not Bob Vila, I had barely any tools when I got married. Luckily, my father had extra tools that he gave me. A seed spreader, shovel, and rake were my first weapons of defense against the lawn rebels. My wife rearranged the tulips and they stopped growing all over our property in weird locations. I planted grass seed on many areas of the lawn. Using my spreader, I used various seeds to help our yard. The first application was Scott’s Turf Builder which reduced the dandelions as well as strengthening the grassroots which were weak and mostly dead. During the first few years here, I continued with the Scott’s seasonal applications. Our yard looks much better now and while it does not look perfect, I know the transition it endured from barren and beaten-down to thicker and greener.
It is imperative that we remember the moments where we worked through the pain of this thing called Life in order to experience beauty and hope that only God can deliver. So often in our spiritual journeys, we get so focused on the “blessed life” that we forget what we endured in the “stressed life.” Take Facebook for example: how often do you encounter genuine posts on there? People might lament that they hate their jobs, houses, spouses, or selves . . . but how often do people post the real pain they are experiencing or have overcome?
We don’t need more places to air our dirty laundry. Social media has provided enough opportunities for us — thank you very much! What we need are communities and forums where we can share ourselves — the broken and messy parts of us — without judgement. The person who is depressed and looking for a job: they need prayer and access to jobs that will fit their talents and needs. The person who is struggling with an addiction: they don’t need to hear how you never struggled with drugs. We all have our vices and some are more dangerous than others. The addict needs to be guided to resources that will both break the addiction as well as supporting their spirit. A broken spirit can only live on bread crumbs for so long.
In order to remember the dandelions that you had to dig up, take note of the following when assessing what you have endured:
Name 3 people in your life who caused you great pain. How did you overcome that?
In your trauma that you experienced, what feelings were most apparent to you: depression, sorrow, guilt, a sense of being overwhelmed, sadness, hopelessness?
What helped you rise up?
Who helped you rise up?
Currently, who in your life right now needs to hear what you overcame?
What spiritual practices did you partake in while processing your trauma? What was helpful and why?
You cannot ignore the past. But your story and the past stuff that is attached to it; I bet there is someone out there that needs to hear your story. You and God are the co-writers to your story. You choose who and where you share your battle scars. When you are struggling to find your next step, God can rise you up. This takes actual conversation with God. Insta-Jesus is great for helping us pick out a snack but this does not work well in the dark and troubling times that everyone finds themselves in.
Thank God for the blessings in your life. They are a sign of what you have overcome. But do not forget about the dandelions. It took you months, years, or maybe even decades to conquer the dandelions. It is easier to focus on the “blessed life” because it looks prettier and more attractive to those in our lives. The blessed life deserves its time and place but we cannot forget about the dandelions. The dandelions are moments where our resilience
is brought forth and we can use what we learned to help others later on.