Yesterday, I drove by fields of sunflowers, their happy faces tracking the constant sun. All day, the stems, the east-facing halves, grow and lengthen, bending their flower heads to keep up with the westward-moving light. All night, their west-side stems grow, oscillating their heavy yellow faces back to the east.
I envy the surety of sunflowers. Their nights are free of guilty dreams. They faithfully keep time, their circadian rhythm turns them to the promise of sun they never doubt will rise again.
Chaos does not occur to sunflowers. Not a one casts an eye to the dark side, crying out, “I will go my own way.” Not a one sows a seed of discord, makes choices, suffers free will to fail and fail again.
The sun once lifted my darkness, but now, feeling the heavy weight of ripe experience, I wallow in sleepless worry and do not turn any more. My faith is shaken. I am mired in the mud of my looping thoughts, forgetting how to be governed by the ancient inheritance.
Then I remember. Adult sunflowers stop sun-tracking, too. Knowing that bees prefer the warmer flowers of morning, they stay still, facing east. They endure the long night, waiting for sunrise and the buzzing yellow and black pollinators to freckle their faces with ripening seeds, seeds that assure a more lasting tomorrow.
SHERYL LAIN cares for her husband who has had multiple sclerosis for decades. More recently, other issues have emerged such as the acute pain of trigeminal neuralgia and chronic urinary tract infections. She writes about dealing with her husband’s illness as a way of understanding her faith and mission.
Radical hope. Compassionate change. Equipping those affected by chronic physical and mental illness through community and education rooted in Jesus Christ.