Cultivate Your Sunflowers

By: Marcy Barthelette
Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow. It’s what sunflowers do. Helen Keller
I have loved sunflowers for as long as I can remember but my affinity for these giants of the flower world became even more real to me one summer a few years ago as we drove to Billings on a little flea market jaunt. Halfway there we encountered one of the most amazing views I have ever imagined; acres and acres of blooming sunflowers. Move over flea market….sunflowers have taken center stage. I was absolutely entranced. We checked out the fields from every possible angle and, thanks to digital photography, we took dozens of photos. My love affair with sunflowers took on a whole new perspective.
We returned to try and relive that first encounter but the peak beauty only lasted a short while. We also learned that these fields had become a popular hot spot following TV news reports and newspaper articles about them. Each year we’ve hoped to be greeted by those happy faces once again only to be disappointed. Perhaps the farmer was not as happy with all the traffic near his fields as we were with his golden beauties. Though I’ve never seen them again, I have my memories and my photos. I’ve even raised a few sunflowers of my own.
Why am I so enamored with sunflowers? First, they’re bright yellow, along with some hybrids in other colors. Yellow is a happy color. I love yellow T-Shirts, yellow kitchens, and bright yellow goldfinches hanging upside down on bright yellow sunflowers. That brings me to the second point, birds love the multitude of seeds produced on each flower head. Humans love roasted seeds as well. And thirdly, bees seek out the abundant flower pollen for their honey. Sunflowers provide beauty, put a smile on my face, and provide a valuable food source for critters and humans. That’s a sizeable contribution to our ecosystem. So where do you suppose we could find some figurative sunflowers in our lives and how might they influence the way we live?
The sunny faces of family members would surely count as sunflowers. They bring us warmth and security and nourish us with rich relationships. A career wisely chosen offers a different kind of beauty and brings a sense of satisfaction. Our homes offer an oasis from the world. They comfort and strengthen us. Friends offer happy smiles and encouragement when we need a little lift on an ordinary day.
Faith keeps us going when the going gets rough when the mountain seems too tall to climb. Hope awakens possibilities we hadn’t seen before. Humility keeps us on track when we might be tempted to stray. Love for each other creates a bond that extends beyond our own families and into an environment that may be different from our own. Serving and giving promotes a sense of brotherhood and help bring God’s message to a hurting world.
These are a few of the things that I see as sunflowers in our lives. I’m sure you’ll have more. Whatever you see as a sunflower, cultivate it well. Water it and feed it until it is ready for harvest. If you’ve tended that sunflower well, the harvest will be great!
Let’s not get tired of doing good, because in time we’ll have a harvest if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:9 CEB If you live according to my rules, keep my commands  and do them, I will give you rain at the proper time, the land will produce its yield, and the trees of the field will produce their fruit. Leviticus 26:3-4 CEB The sunflower reaches toward the sky to grab every nourishing ray of sun it can. It even turns itself to face the sun. We could take a lesson from the lovely sunflower and look to the Son for our nourishment.

3 Responses to “Cultivate Your Sunflowers”

  1. Jill Moran says:

    Good job as usual. You have a real gift for words. Thank you.

  2. Robin Williams says:

    Beautifully written. Thank you so much.

  3. Jan Furr says:

    Marcy—

    Your articles are always wonderful. These pix are beautiful, too.

    Thanks so much for sharing your talents.

    Jan

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