The Sunflower Analogy
By Karl Ayling, Sep 29 2017 08:22PM
During early winter this year, a friend at church was giving away some sunflower seeds, mainly to the children and young people. I spotted an opportunity to try to cultivate one so with permission, I picked up three of the seeds and planted them into a small pot.
A few weeks went by and a couple of shoots began to show themselves - two of the three had started to grow. After another couple of weeks around Easter time they were big enough to plant into the garden.
I chose a spot in between the potatoes and the green beans. At first they competed with each other in reaching for the sky - being well fed and watered, I thought they were doing well.
Then one morning, I went out to inspect their growth progress and one had been broken in half and was no longer viable (maybe a bird had walked past or tried to eat it).
The last remaining sunflower was all alone with my hopes for it hinging on my expectation that I would at least see it get to a few feet high and maybe produce one head for the coming summer.
How Wrong Can You Be?
Other than regular tomato feed and watering it when I watered the rest of the veg patch this sunflower was left to reach its own potential.
The eagle eyed among you will have noticed a picture posted along with this blog.
At the time of writing and after much social media mirth at my regular progress updates, this sunflower grown from a single seed (the last survivor) now stands a magnificent six feet over my six foot fence.
It has 35 heads in various stages of development with more to come. Truly a magnificent specimen of its kind - people are asking me to save the seeds for them.
Its potential was locked away dormant for months awaiting an opportunity to bloom. How many of us can say the same thing of our lives? Not much in the early days, but, just as it says in the Bible, the end of a matter is better than the beginning (Ecc 7 v8)
Further than this analogy, though I think there is also a lesson here in the nature of choice.
Choosing vs Deciding
Notice that in the opening paragraph of this blog I chose to be a little cheeky and ask my friend for some of the sunflower seeds. Examples of the fruit of this choice appear throughout. What is the difference between a choice and a decision? Life.
One is life giving (and of light) and one is death giving and of the dark.
Let me explain.
The word, decide belongs to a family of words that in their earliest use come from the Greek and mean to kill off. For example, matricide, patricide, infanticide, genocide - and decide.
By making a decision we are killing off the option in ontological language of selecting anything else. yet, by simply choosing to make a choice, as I did in cultivating the sunflower seed or choosing to be a caring, sharing loving husband, father, person I can hold myself to account, be responsible for my actions (choices) and endeavour to learn and move forward intentionally.
In the Message Bible and in the Book of Proverbs, the introduction exalts us to embrace wisdom, to live skillfully to cultivate emotions and attitudes within us that make for peace. It challenges us to live with a robust sanity.
Part of how we can do this is in the use of language and the active comprehending and understanding of it in the here and now of the present where peace, love and joy reside.
Bye for now