He bursts through the door, a rush of excitement. The sun has tried to steal its way inside – the rays shine through his eyes and the scent lingers in his hair. He offers up his treasure in tiny hands.
“Mom, I brought you a flower!”
And I know what this one means, more than countless others he has brought me before. He has been searching for them through the winter, bewildered when I explain how the cold kills the plants or sends them into deep sleep. I have assured him over and over that when spring comes, the flowers will return.
Thanks to a series of exceptionally warm days, the ground has been tricked into sending up signs of life, at least until the next cold snap. Long enough for Little Man’s persistent search to be unexpectedly rewarded.
There is a voice that lingers in my head. I cannot precisely pin the memory, so I don’t know if it is something I experienced or overheard. But I recall this much. Another small voice, thrilled with discovery: “Look, I found a flower!”
And that grown up voice, disinterested and unimpressed: “That’s not a flower; it’s just a weed.”
Then the feeling of foolishness and disappointment settling over a little girl who thought she’d spotted something lovely, only to discover it was a cruel trick of nature.
(*An aside for adults everywhere: if a child ever offers you one of these flowers, never respond with “That’s just a weed.”)
These tiny yellow flowers speak volumes to me about the heart of God. Even among the weeds – the irritating, life-strangling, pig-headed weeds – He bothered to weave in beauty.
Perhaps to bring delight to the wide-open heart of a child.
Perhaps to remind discouraged adults that beauty can always be found in unexpected places if we are willing to linger and look.
Perhaps that when life is strangling and choking and frustrating, we might have a glimpse of hope, something worth fighting for a little longer.
Perhaps because messages of His love are often tucked into the places we have deemed undesirable and unloveable, and He is gently wooing us out of our selfishness and narrow perspectives and calloused hearts.
Perhaps to quietly but unmistakably affirm that He most certainly can – and will – make ALL things beautiful.
We’re expecting another dip in temperatures next week, so it may take awhile. But there will be more of these little flowers. I know my children; they won’t rest until they’ve picked them all (which means walking the dogs will take even longer).
But I will receive them all with a smile, and we will marvel over the tiny cheery petals. They’ll be tucked behind ears and onto dollhouse tables; they’ll be fed to safari animals and glued to nature collages. And some of them will be picked for the sole purpose of brightening the dinner table, and they will be welcomed every time.
Because we all need the reminder – there is beauty to be found among the weeds.