Planting Pansies


I love pansies.  Several years ago, I had an encounter with a few pansies that changed my perspective.  

It was a fall day a lot like today, and I was out for a walk with a dear friend.  As we were walking, of course, we were talking.  I think we were talking about something painful in one of our lives…and how hard it is to understand sometimes, and how to keep moving in the midst.  And then I saw the pansies.  Or, more specifically, I saw the man planting pansies.

He had a long driveway that widened in a curve when it got to the street.  In that curve, he was kneeling.  And planting pansies.  My cynical response was to think, “Why in the world would he plant those pansies there?  Someone is going to run right over them backing out of his driveway.”  Maybe it’s the 1 in me, trying to do things “right.”  Or, maybe it was my tired heart that day out on a walk.  But, what stayed with me as I passed his house, and then his street, and then even that day, was that he was planting them anyway. 

My guess is that he planted his pansies there every fall.  He knew what would happen.  Looking out of his window, he’d notice a car pull up to his house, miss the corner of the driveway and drop off into the flower bed.  Year after year, he watched the little heads of those pansies bow under the weight of it all, and then rise again.  But, he planted pansies there anyway.

It struck me as a picture of who we’re called to be in this life.  We plant pansies.  In the midst of pain, heartache, loss, struggle.  We plant pansies because something in our hearts wants there to be beauty in this world.  And, even more than that, something in our hearts desperately wants to hope.  It’s who we want to be.  And who we can be because of Jesus.  

It’s a thought I’ve come back to many times over the years since that walk.  How can I plant pansies here?  How can I take the little patch of earth I’ve been given, and bring beauty and hope, and a sense of who God has made me to be into it, anyway?  In the midst of the hurt, the pain, the longing for more?

I’ve been reading The Story of God’s Love for You by Sally Lloyd-Jones as my devotional lately.  It’s the adult version of her Jesus Storybook Bible.  And it brought me back to the truths of those pages.  “And though they would forget him, and run from him, deep in their hearts, God’s children would miss him always, and long for him—lost children yearning for their home.

You see, no matter what, in spite of everything, God would love his children—with a Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.”  It’s the truth we want the kids we love to know and experience.  And it’s the truth we want to experience for ourselves…to seep down into our tired bones.  We’re with you and grateful for you.

And so we plant pansies right alongside you.  

Oh!  May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!  Romans 15:13, MSG