My neighbor is a master gardener as in Dr. Mary Smith, M.G. She is very proud of her standing in the plant community and she has worked very hard to master the garden. Her lawn is a green crew-cut of military perfection. She lives two houses down from mine, and since we have no fences, she can see my backyard, which is the bane of her existence. Our yard is filled with dandelions. My neighbors’ magnum opus is to iradicate the likes of such seedy characters from the face of the earth, starting with my yard. Which means, I’m in trouble. Again.
I love dandelions. I love them because I love children and children love dandelions. What child has not stooped down to pick a dandelion or twenty to deliver fistfully (not a real word but it should be) to a mother? I want my grandkids to know, in this meadow-deficient existence, what it is to command a thousand little airy stars to scatter throughout the universe. Admittedly, it is unfortunate Mrs. Mary Smith, M.G.’s backyard is directly on the flight path. Another thing: Robins like dandelions and I like robins. I like watching them hop along, head cocked to one side, listening for worms.
There’s no greater role-model of “bloom where you’re planted (and also where you’re not)” than a dandelion. The mere thought of all they have endured is enough to bring to mind the swell of a victory march: Though plucked, persecuted and peed upon, their truth goes marching on! Perennials in the truest sense, one will never hear, “My dandelion grove didn’t make it through the ______________ (drought, freeze, hurricane, tsunami) so I must reseed.” We are hard-pressed to find any better example of that revered battle-hymn of the Christian Faith, “The Word of God is Like Itty Bitty Seeds…” than the humble dandelion. Dandelions are tiny chrysanthemums with sunny dispositions-what’s not to love? Nothing, that’s what, so don’t judge me.
Early last winter I planted tiny purple hyacinth bulbs all over my lawn so the dandelions would have company. Spring arrived, and the two of them- gloriously dressed for the season- sprung up practically shouting, “CHRIST IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED!” Unfortunately, my neighbor heard them. She came over Easter day while we were celebrating with friends and family to ask us when we were planning on spraying the dandelions. I wilted. In trouble, again.
I wish grace was like paying taxes. I could eek out the bottom-line amount, wincing a bit perhaps, but satisfied in the knowledge that I’ve done my fair share-nothing more and nothing less-appeasing the Powers that Be. Or maybe I wish grace had a different definition. At the moment, Unmerited Favor is way too generous for my taste.
That night my two minds held an emergency meeting:
The one closest to me said,
“It’s my backyard! How dare she disrupt our Easter Celebration. She is always sticking her nose in our business. It probably has nothing to do with dandelions and everything to do with our being Christian!”
And then the other mind-the One who stands silently by- said,
“How will you know?”
“How will I know what?!?!!”
“How will you know what her real issue is, as long as the dandelions are still in your yard?”
Sometimes I kinda want to tell that One to butt out. Sigh. I’ll continue this tomorrow. I’ve taken to my bed.