A Thing for Dandelions

Baby Benjamin (#3) is 7 months today.  Samuel (#2) was 7 months when Dad passed away which makes today bittersweet for me. This is one of those days where I really wish that Dad was here to watch my cheerful, wild, funny and cute kids grow up. This is one of those days I wish he got to meet and spend some time with my youngest, Ben Ben.  He’s a sensitive and sweet little chub and Dad, you would have loved him.

At the 1 year of his passing, all the grandkids gathered dandelions and decorated Dad’s gravestone.

For those of you who went to Dad’s funeral, you know that there were no flowers. Instead in Dad’s honor, many of you picked dandelions to lay on his casket…it was the most beautiful thing I’ve seen.  I always thought dandelions were pretty ugly and yes, annoying. But since Dad’s service and passing, they have a special place in my heart.  If you’re wondering where the dandelion thing came from, check out an article my dad wrote in a 1987 magazine.


Lord, Let Me be like A Dandelion

By Samuel To

For people who love green lawns, there is nothing as annoying as dandelions.  They seem to be almost impossible to get rid of.  For homeowners in expensive neighborhoods, patches of pretty yellow flowers stick out like “sore thumbs.”

However, after years of working on lawns, first on a landscaping crew in college and later as a homeowner, I  have come to respect the dandelions.

Its Influence

I am deeply impressed by its pervasive power and ability to multiply.  Its flowers put out dozens of seeds that can go far and wide.  It can also multiply through its roots.  The dandelion stands out from other flowers in the yard.

Our Lord commanded us to be good witnesses.  We need to be in the world, and yet not of the world.  Like the dandelion, we should be influencing the world around us.  We, too, should have a life-style quite different from those around us.

It Resiliency

I have a deep respect for its resiliency.  Dandelions are very hard to eliminates.  They are able to survive in any kind of inclement weather, even after harsh winters.  It is so deeply rooted that unless the whole plant is dug out, it will return and multiply again.

From the dandelion, we can also learn how to recover from failure.  Satan seeks various ways to destroy our testimony. By working as the “great accuser,” he will be happy if we do not get up again.  After we fall, many of us may believe Satan’s charges and that God does not love us anymore.

I recognize my weakness. I cannot say that I will always do the right thing and never sin.  Yet, if I ever fall, the Lord willing, by His grace and strength, I want to follow the dandelion and rise up again.

Just as Paul says in 2 Cor. 4:7-9, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”
We need to understand and claim God’s grace and forgiveness and live again.  King David was a good example.  He committed serious sin, however, he rebounded and continued to function.

My Tribute to Dandelions

My experience with flowers was unusual.  To help pay for my college tuition & fees, I once worked as a laborer cutting flowers in the foothills of the Appalachians in North Carolina.  The earning was low, only seventy cents an hour.  The plantation owner did not abide by the minimum wage of $1.25 an hour.  The work hours were long, 13 hours a day, rain or shine.  And seeing how plantation owners exploited laborers certainly did not help my appreciation of buying flowers that only last for a few days.

Having no fondness for extravagance, buying expensive cut flowers has never held much appeal for me.  However, recognizing that many people do like buying flowers, I have learned to respect other people’s desire for enriching special occasions with cut flowers.

Maybe my funeral would be a fitting occasion to express my unusual perspective about flowers.  Instead of buying cut flowers, my preference is for a patch of dandelions gathered from the yard.  Besides adding the pretty yellow color, it will be a very special tribute to an unusual flower.

“Lord, let me be like a dandelion!”


1987 Rock 11th Anniversary ed p.12