The Answer in the Dandelions


One day I went for a stroll with my two daughters, aged three and four. We walked by beautiful homes and gardens with flowers of spectacular colors. We saw tall trees with disorderly wildflowers clustered around them, which were lovely, too.

Then the girls saw some dandelions that were blooming like small bright suns. They each picked one. To their disappointment, the yellow blossoms soon withered into grey shadows.

“Why did you pick them?” I asked, thinking it was time for a lesson.

“Because they were so pretty!” both cried.

“Are they pretty now?”

“No,” answered my older daughter. “Throw them away!”

I explained that it’s best to admire nature without interfering. When living things are rooted up, they weaken and die. The girls understood.

They returned to their play, while I thought about those little flowers. I remembered the less-active people at church whose testimonies didn’t receive the nurturing necessary to survive difficult times. How easy it is, I thought, if our testimonies are not rooted in faith and constantly nourished, for them to wither and die.

Suddenly my heart trembled as I recognized in this humble analogy the answer to a problem that had been troubling me.

My husband had stopped going to church, and I had been contemplating becoming less active myself, just to avoid conflict. It would, I reasoned, be only “temporary.” I had been praying, trying to know the right thing to do. Now Heavenly Father had given me the answer.

That night when my husband came home, I told him about our outing and about the dandelions. I told him that if I did truly love him—and he knew that I did—it was due, in great part, to the attention and care I received at church. It was because each Sunday I was in the Lord’s garden, being fed by his Spirit and by the love of my brothers and sisters. It was because I was watered every day as I read the scriptures. All of these things helped to make me the person that loved him. They made me the person that he loved.

He smiled and gave me a kiss as a token of peace. And I gave thanks for the message I had received that day—in the form of two dandelions.

[illustrations] Illustrated by Dilleen Marsh