Where the Dandelions Grow
When I was in college, I took this ecology class, and the professor once explained that weeds, technically, don’t exist. Weeds don't have a scientific designation. We call flowers and plants weeds when we don’t like them, when we want a reason to kill them. I have always loved dandelions, and this professor vindicated me that day. Yellow is my favorite color, and nothing makes me happier than blowing dandelion seeds into the late summer heat. Dandelions are also very hardy plants. They can grow nearly anywhere—in fields, in low water, and in between concrete. How are dandelions not our national flower? They bust their asses, grow in seemingly inhospitable environments, then bloom. Even its name is powerful—dandelion comes from the French dent de lion—which means, “lion’s teeth”—because the tips of their petals are pointy, like little teeth.
In religious circles, specifically Christian ones, I hear a lot of conversations about brokenness. What do we do with brokenness; how do we interpret God’s providence or presence in light of brokenness—our own and the world’s? I think that one of the most pressing questions that folks grapple with is the question of how we heal the brokenness in our lives. The other day, I watched an interview by Rev. Stephanie Spellers, an episcopal priest, author, and teacher. In it, she talks about brokenness in a way that really struck me. She discusses the ways that God doesn’t fill in the cracks, but works through them. We don’t have to see our places of brokenness as something to cover up, but as places in the concrete through which flowers grow, anyway. It isn’t to justify places where we have been traumatized, or necessarily redeem it. But, for me at least, it allows me to show up—all the whole and holy parts of me. The broken parts. The healed parts. The in between parts. The mad as hell parts. The bitter parts. The parts that aren’t ready to forgive. The parts that desperately want to be forgiven.
It’s like the old line from the Leonard Cohen song Anthem, “Ring the bells that still can ring/ forget your perfect offering/ There is a crack, a crack in everything/ That’s how the light gets in”. I don’t have to be healed or not. I don’t have to live as if my life is one thing or another. I don’t have to claim one of a few small roads to walk on. And I don’t have to put others in those narrow boxes, either.
I want to embody the spectrum—a full range of colors packed together in one powerful beam. Isn't that what light is, anyway? So the world can bring the drought. Bring the weed killer. Bring the concrete. I’ll bring me, and I don’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon.