Well, spring is sprung. It must be, because my lawn has changed from green to yellow. The annual blooming of the dandelion is a more certain ritual of spring than robins returning or golf courses opening.
There was a time when I used to stroll around the property with a hoe and dig up the few pernicious plants that attempted to sneak into the yard. Now, I wander back and forth across huge patches of yellow trailing a wax bar loaded with herbicide.
It may simply be that conditions have been good for dandelions the last few years. But I’m afraid that the truth is that I have not been as diligent with my hoe, either. A little inattention is all that’s needed to give dandelions the idea that they’re welcome. And like uninvited houseguests, once they’re there it takes a lot of walking with wax bars to get rid of them.
However, some good has come out of my exercise. For one thing, I got some exercise. For another, all of that walking gave me time to consider the similarities between dandelions in our lawns and the weeds that grow in our lives.
Dandelions show up when the world is beginning to burst out with life after a long winter. It’s a time when everything seems full of energy and anything seems possible. And then we wake up one morning. We look out the window. And instead of the green expanse that we saw last night, we see a spackled vastness of yellow.
Life is like that too. It’s often just when everything seems to be going great that trouble raises its fuzzy yellow head. And, I think, for the same reasons. When the lawn is green, we tend to take it for granted. We don’t do our little walkabouts with the hoe to root out small weeds. After all, what can one little dandelion do?
When our lives are going well, we tend to take that for granted as well. This is nothing new. I was reading an Old Testament passage the other day. King Rehoboam had been quite successful in creating a prosperous kingdom. He decided to spend a little more time partying it up, and a little less in keeping an eye on the borders. He woke up one morning to find the army of Shishak of Egypt trampling his flowerbeds.
Luckily, most of us don’t have to contend with chariots or armies. But our personal dandelions can be just as devastating.
Some of our dandelions are small. A pet peeve. An acquaintance whose manner irritates us. Our impatience when waiting in line at the bank. (or worse, at the coffee shop drive-through).
Some are more like the patch by my berry bush. They overtake the lawn; choke out the green grass of our tolerance and compassion. They’re the ones that lead us to think that we can’t change anything. That we have to accept injustice because our opinions or our actions don’t matter.
We use hoes and herbicides to keep dandelions out of our yards. We can use faith to keep them out of our lives.
Faith is a lot like a good dose of weed and feed. It feeds what’s good and it starves what’s bad. Faith is what gives us the power to continue to protest even when the protest seems to go unheard. Faith is what tells us that, even if we don’t get every dandelion, each one that we do get makes the lawn just a little bit better.
Faith is what makes the lawn of our lives green. But only if we use it.
Now, I think I need to take my hoe and go walkabout.