Tag Archives: inspiration

Lessons from a Sunflower

Jun 25, 2015

balcony gardenSo for the last two or three summers, when I was living at my apartment, I built up a lovely container garden on my balcony. The way my apartment was situated, I got full sunlight all day, so I had varying degrees of success with different kinds of plants.

This is not a story about those plants.

Because this past winter, for the first time, I bought a birdfeeder. I plunked said birdfeeder into one of the dormant containers of dirt, and all winter long, my cats went nuts as they watched birds turn my balcony into the coolest bird hangout in the area.

This is not a story about those birds.

birdfeederWhen I moved to my temporary home for the summer, I brought my containers, complete with dirt, with me. They ended up scattered all around the garden at this house, the house I grew up in. I kind of had plans to plant flowers and stuff, but I never really got around to putting in the effort.

But someone had other plans.

Shortly after I got settled here, I noticed a couple of sprouts in one of the containers. I kind of knew what they were right away, but with an excited little grin, I let them grow, curious to see if they would actually GROW and end up blooming. Much to my surprise, they actually did grow. Very, very tall! I shouldn’t have been surprised, though. That’s what sunflowers do.

But as I stood admiring the first of the two sunflowers when it finally burst into bloom the other day, I was struck by an amazing lesson that that simple flower had to teach me. That flower was not supposed to be there. I didn’t plant it and I didn’t plan for it. That seed was not supposed to grow and flourish. It was meant to be eaten by birds, not to have a life of its own. But somehow, through fate, the nature of seeds, and a little luck, what was supposed to end up destroyed for someone else’s good ended up becoming tall and glorious and wonderful.


We may think our lives are destined for one thing. We may be convinced, by ourselves or others, that we’re no good or meant for nothing more than to be someone else’s tool. We might feel hopeless because of the odds stacked against us. But sometimes the extraordinary happens. Sometimes we are able to rise above the crappy circumstances we are thrust into to become something beautiful and glorious. It can happen, whether we see it coming or not.

So now, next summer, when I move into my new apartment, I’m going to plant sunflowers. A lot of them. Sunflowers will forever be a reminder to me of the amazing things we can accomplish, whether we are “supposed to” or not.