My wife and daughters love sunflowers. And really, who doesn’t? We heard about this farm not far from our house where they planted thousands of them. This we had to see! So on a Sunday evening after dinner, we went in search of beauty. We were soon disappointed. As our car rolled slowly up the farm’s long, gravel driveway, we saw that the peak sunflower season had apparently passed. They didn’t look so good. Recent heavy rains had slumped their stalks. Their once grand pedals were tired, wilted or scattered on the ground waiting on the wind to carry them away. Their sad slouch almost made me turn the car around. Instead, we got out and took a stroll. We cut through the careful rows in hopes of finding something photo-worthy. We walked a lot. It was hot. The sun was slowly fading, but Tennessee temperatures were still in the 90’s with stifling humidity. Bees were buzzing all around us and flying into us. No one was enjoying this.
After what seemed like an eternity, we noticed a small, shaded area where the flowers still stood tall. I asked a lady who was walking with her family if she could take a quick picture of us, and we went home. Later on, just before nodding off to sleep, I took a good look at the photo. I instantly loved it. There’s my wife who’s always at my side. There are my daughters who are growing to be kind, smart and stunning young women. There I am with the people I love the most. Just when it looked like nothing good could come from our little outing, right in the middle of discomfort, beauty still breathed.
How often do we miss the beauty in our lives because it’s not immediately obvious? How many times in our field of flowers do we focus on what is “wrong,” completely missing what is right? Why is it so hard for us to look beyond our flaws and inadequacies and see ourselves as other people see us – how God sees us?
The next time you go looking for beauty, understand it may not be where the sun shines brightest. It may be tucked away in the shade – hidden in plain sight.
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