I want to be a rose—all proper, trim, and neat;
Raised above the common, in her elevated seat.
She is the lover’s flower, evoking ooohs and aaahs,
The flower for which the world smiles in admirable applause.
And when she goes a walking, she spreads a fragrant scent,
That travelers pause in wonder to warmly compliment.
She comes in all the colors of an artist’s vibrant paint;
And if she were a human, I’m sure she’d be a saint!
Honored through the ages in poetry and prose;
Oh, what I’d give if I could be the regal, worshipped rose!
Yet for all my wishful wanting, a rose is not my fate,
And no amount of hoping will raise me to her state.
Still, if I were privileged, I’d ask it of my God—
Why He put me down in dirt to battle with the sod?
For folks don’t care at all for me, it’s a battle to the death—
In fact, I’ve heard them mutter in angry, bated breath,
“Destroy that dandelion, it will only go to seed!”
‘Tis my fate that I should be an ugly hated weed.
And as I hang my head and believe their words are true
I hear the Master Gardener say, “Remember, I created you.”
“I could have made you regal and majestic like the rose,
But for you my little flower that is not the path I chose.
I made your sunny face to reflect the sun above;
I spread your golden flowers like I spread my endless love.
Your leaves can be for salad, your roots a tonic tea;
You share your sweetened nectar with the passing thirsty bee.
Upon your stem there are no thorns to pierce the tiny hand,
That gathers up your blossoms in a lovely little band.
Then runs to find his mother in anticipating bliss,
And bestows his cheerful bounty with a slobbery little kiss.
I made you tough, resilient; you grow most anywhere
With little need for extra help and little need for care.
I could have made you different; but I didn’t, don’t you see?
I knew just what I wanted, what I needed you to be.
And though you’re not a rose, you are special just as you—
My precious dandelion—steady, strong, and true.”
One cold winter day while I was waiting for the washer to finish washing I saw the book All I Needed to Know I Learned In Kindergarten sitting on my bookshelf. I sat on the couch and started re-reading. This book is a compilation of short essays of life events that teach a lesson or principle. I read long after the washer was done. A couple of the stories deal with the bad rap dandelions get. It is true that they are obnoxious and everywhere, but that can also be a strength. There is also so much to like about them. With these thoughts filed away, I decided it was high time to get on with the laundry.
Weeks later, it was Valentine’s Day. Of all days it is this day that speaks roses. Seeing the delicate flowers, it triggered the thoughts I had previously about dandelions and I mentally compared the two. I thought there had to be some lesson to learn here and made a list of the pros and cons of each flower on the morning of Valentine’s before church at 9:00 am. My intent was to write a talk or essay about the two, but after I got home from church I decided to try a poem. So, I sat there for 3 hours at the kitchen table and, with heavens help, captured all the elements I needed.
The “Master Gardener” thought comes from the wonderful talk by Huge B. Brown where he realizes that God is the master gardener in our lives and makes us into what He wants and needs us to be—for His glory but also for ours. I love the thought that we are each unique and different. We all have different talents, strengths, perspectives, abilities, blessings, and life experiences. That does not make one of us better or worse, just different. We don’t need to—and should not—compare ourselves to others. We are all so different that it would be like comparing apples and oranges, and it just can’t be done. Instead, we should each focus on striving to be the best we can be.
True, some people’s abilities will bring them more public recognition and acclaim. But without exception, the people that have had the most positive impact on my life were not one of the “greats” in the public eye. They were not considered “roses.” They were honest, loving “dandelions” living ordinary and often challenging lives who reached out and touched mine for good. Grandpa and Grandma, a priesthood quorum adviser, Aunt Afton, a couple of missionary companions, a 6th grade teacher, Great Grandma Huber, an old crippled primary teacher, and others the random reader would not know. But I know them, and I thank the Lord for their humble, quiet goodness. I am grateful they bloomed where they were planted and grew into the flowers that were uniquely them.
I think when the dandelions come up this spring, I will look at them with new appreciation.
Written: February 14, 2016