Dandelion Dreams: Not My Will but Yours

For the past few years, the dandelion campaign has been gaining ground. Many know it’s one of the bees’ first food, and so we are to embrace our dotted lawns and refrain from spraying the earth with toxins. As a beekeeper, I excitedly anticipate the weed’s prolific announcement of springtime, but especially this year. I had grand plans to make dandelion jelly. 

Yes, the dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is edible. Apparently, all parts of the plant can be consumed except the stem. It almost goes without saying that everyone should use commonsense when amending their diet or eating any random flower—I’m not a doctor, just a product of hillbilly grandparents, homesteading culture, and a heavy dose of curiosity.  

My family spent the weekend hunched over fields plucking the largest, brightest blooms. Grass stains threaten permanency on my thumbs from hours of pulling petals away from their base. I likened the tedious process to breaking beans, but without the wet blanket of humidity or the repeating frog chorus of summer nights. This was the first “harvest” of the year, my first full baskets since the shelves of canned goods started looking so bare. 

Birds sang as the sun peeked in and out of fluffy clouds. Little boys played ball in the yard. Later, their laughter carried across the water as they took trips around the pond in a canoe. The dog chased cats. Wade tilled the garden. Ants marched around sticky popsicle sticks. Life abundant. 

We had picked hundreds of flowers to add to everything from jelly to salads to pancakes. This mama thought that the dandelion was sure to make those syrup-drenched pancakes rich in antioxidants and vitamins A and B12, but it took all we had for the jelly. So, I boiled the petals, added some lemon juice, and gave it a good pour of sugar. Would morning yield jars of golden jelly? I could hardly wait to taste the fruit of our efforts. Everyone had said it would taste like honey. 

A beekeeper should know better: nothing is like honey but honey. Dandelions are traditionally associated with the bitterness of our Lord’s Passion or Mary’s sorrows. I wish I had remembered that. 

With one bitter bite, my dandelion dreams were blown. My hopes of more perfect, sunny days drifted to a day that was dark for three hours. Maybe it’s the recent eclipse that has me still considering Good Friday, or maybe it’s this Easter Season that has me realizing things aren’t always as we might plan it. 

Perhaps the most extraordinary acts of trust aren’t in the big moments, like walking on water or the Miracle at Cana. Rather, maybe they’re in all the tiny moments before the Big. Peter had the courage to take that initial sandaled step onto water because he had seen the Lord’s faithful miracles (he started to sink only after he took his eyes off Jesus). Mary—the first disciple of Christ, the first one to know Him, to love Him, and to trust in His perfect plan—she always knew His goodness. How broken (pierced) her heart must have been to see her crucified Son, to lay His body in a tomb. I’m sure it’s not how any of us would have planned that fateful Friday, but Mary trusted His Way of the Cross.

So much of life is not as I’ve expected it. It’s curious how death can be such a part of life, and yet it always startles us. Death of dreams. Death of expectations. Death of plans. And yet, we’re supposed to die. We’re supposed to die to self, to embrace the cross, to die to my will and live in the complete and perfect freedom of Jesus Christ. Oh death, this Jesus-trusting beekeeper asks, where is your sting?

To “die to self” means to die to our own desires and to trust God’s plan for us. Mother Teresa of Calcutta used to ask God to help her to die “frequent deaths to self” so that she could live not her own will, but God’s more faithfully. Dying to self demands us to embrace humility (recall how pride led to the first sin of Adam and Eve). We’re called to be childlike (Mt 18:3), to take the hand of our Good Father, and trust wherever He lead us. It’s easier said than done, but we know there’s nothing impossible with God.

Today, the fields are full of dandelion puffs. Some might see a graveyard for weeds—dead dandelion jelly plans and expired expectations—but not me. They’re graceful, delicate seeds of faith. A promise of freedom, of love, of life abundant.

*Feature photo by Niklas Hamann on Unsplash

Author: Neena

Neena is a Kentucky wife, mother, and beekeeper. Her first novel, THE BIRD AND THE BEES, is a Christian contemporary romance available now. Visit her at wordslikehoney.com.