Of Dandelions and Grass and Growth....
It is that season again!
A couple Sundays ago we got home and the park across from us was a sea of yellow. Our front yard wasn't far behind for that matter. Dandelions in full flower. By now most of them have turned to white puffballs and then to empty stalks, looking sort of like a miniature forest of dead tree trunks.
People have mixed opinions on dandelions. One of the women in Atikokan called them her favourite flower. Other people consider them a scourge to be eradicated from their lawn with extreme prejudice.
So are they a pretty flower or a weed?
A couple of days ago on Twitter people were complaining about the fact that the city no longer sprays for dandelions. Part of that is cost. Part of it is concern about the chemical use. But what are the pros of dandelions?
Some people claim that the young leaves make a tasty salad green. Some make tea or wine from them. Others point out that the dandelion is a good early source for nectar for honey bees. And many children remember collecting bouquets for mom – whether mom wanted them or not.
What are the cons of dandelions?
Well for people who take pride in having a crisp uniform lawn they are an unsightly blemish. They quickly take over a flower bed. They may look nice in flower but those bare stems look terrible.
What about grass? The prime objection people tend to have to dandelions is that they are a blemish on their nice uniform lawns.
I admit, I admire the crisp look of a lush uniform lawn. Not that I ever plan to put enough work or money into my lawn to get that appearance mind you. But I also find it disturbing in a way.
The manse lawn in Atikokan was not a “great” lawn. It was as much or more wildflowers or weeds as it was grass. It was so uneven you could lose a bocce ball in the dips (which made for a more interesting game mind you). But those wildflowers and weeds and dandelions stayed green far longer than the grass did in dry years. And they added flashes of colour at intervals over the summer. In many ways I liked it more than the golf green lawns so many people aspire to. It looked like it fit. It looked a bit more natural.
By now you are likely wondering if I have a point in this rambling on about dandelions and lawns. I think I do...
You see I think our churches need to be more like the lawn in Atikokan. To a degree we like our organizations to be neat and tidy and beautiful. But the reality is that often they are untidy, and uneven, and beautiful. Where we want to cultivate and shape the growth, they grow in their own way. Where we have a plan, something else grows without consulting us. Where we want things nice and level, there are dips and hollows and humps and bumps.
And sometimes that is the surprising blessing.
Which leads only one question...
Are we the weeds, the wildflowers, or the carefully cultivated grass? Are we nice and flat or a little bit bumpy?