Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wishing Flowers

My kids love dandelions. We call them "Wishing Flowers" and they never pass up an opportunity to spread the seed (and send their wishes) out into the great beyond.

Usually, I am very good and "adult" and refrain from joining in the fun blowing the wishing flowers. I've even been known to buy fertilizer for our yard that proclaims to rid our lawn of any and all such "weeds."

But, last Saturday night, while on retreat, I let my inner child run free.

At dinner, one of the women exclaimed over a huge field hidden completely by woods, off the beaten path and through some bushes up on a hill. I had noticed the hill, but hadn't wandered up there. Her enthusiasm piqued my interest. I had to see what made this stretch of land so joyful for her.

I found the spot on the hill, just as she'd described, and slipped between two bushes. I stood at one end of a long, open space, surrounded on all sides by dense forest and breathed deeply. It was gloriously beautiful, private and open at the same time.

The field before me was a sea of wishing flowers.

I walked the distance, maybe 200 yards, slipping into the woods every now and again where the foliage parted to make a little path. Reaching the other side, I turned, looking back at that break in the bushes where I'd first entered this space. My eyes fell on the center of the field, and the hundreds (nay, thousands) of wishing flowers peppering the grass.

Oh, how my kids... especially my daughter... would love this place!

As I stood there on the edge of the field, I began to pray for my kids, one at a time. I plucked a flower, offered a prayer for my older son, and blew the seeds far and wide. I repeated the same for my daughter. Then, for my younger son, my husband, my parents, my sisters, my extended family, my friends. As I moved slowly back across the field, I stayed to the center. I plucked flower after flower, offered prayers and blew.

Reaching that break in the bushes, I turned once more, pausing again to consider the field. My scattering of seed hadn't made even the slightest dent in the sea of dandelions. You wouldn't even know I'd been there, plucking and blowing, praying and scattering.

These wishing flowers - praying flowers - reminded me of an important lesson: often I can't see the impact of my prayers at the time I am praying, just as the evidence of my plucking and scattering will not show for some weeks to come.

But they do matter. Just as those seeds I scattered in that field will take hold and grow even more wishing flowers, my prayers will take hold... likely in ways I cannot even imagine and may never get to see.

And I will never again pass up a wishing flower and the chance to send my prayers out into the beyond. I can think of nothing more "adult" than to do just that.

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