When you’re a kid, you will pick every fresh dandelion waiting in a field for you. You will pick them because they are there for you, or so you think. They are just waiting to make all your dreams and desires come true. Just like you, waiting on endless possibilities of infinite summers, vacations, and pool days. You have been holding on to the wish of a perfect life with a dream family that sends perfectly-crafted Christmas cards, the ones with the kids laughing, the husband looking dreamingly at his wife and the dog and cat in a Santa hat, even if the cat doesn’t look too happy about it in that moment.
The dandelions are waiting to grant you a life just like this field, full of flowers and sunshine, not a cloud in the sky. As you blow the fuzz off the perfect dandelion, you won’t have a care in the world. Some dandelions are missing some, but that doesn’t matter. You’ll wish on every dandelion in the field until there are none left in sight. There are still some in the field, however, but your dreams and wishes are constrained by what you see in front of you. If you find another one, you’ll run to it. You will run to it as quickly as possible because it’s yours. It’s your wish, and once you get there, you won’t need to spend another second on what to wish for. You know it in your heart. You know exactly the kind of future you want to lead. It’s a perfect picture.
As you grow up, you’ll slowly stop picking dandelions and making wishes. The clock will pass 11:11 and the shooting stars will fly through the sky without you giving them a second thought. Sometimes you’ll think about stooping to the floor and grasping at whatever wishes you can, but you put on a brave face and dismiss the perfectly-crafted flowers as meaningless weeds. You’re okay, you’ll tell yourself. You’re doing just fine. No wish on a star or promise of a future can do anything for you. You’ll stand as tall as you can, even though some days all you want to do is return to the innocence of roaming through a field of roses just to make wishes on these weeds. No matter how hard you try, you can’t rid yourself of them. Despite every attempt to eradicate them at their roots, they spring back. Like a buzzing fly you can’t chase away, the whispering of hopes and dreams of a better life keep tantalizing your ears, but you refuse to hear them.
I am here to tell you that it’s okay. It’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to stare longingly at the dandelions with hopes and dreams of a better today. It’s not your job to hold the world together. All that matters is that you’re here. You are showing up. You are showing up with whatever you have to offer, even if it’s just an imperfect dandelion that you plucked as a weed with the hopes of making a wish come true. Those weeds you can’t seem to get rid of, that whispering in your ear that you can’t seem to tune out, it’s the voice of hope. It’s the voice of faith. The voice that keeps telling you, ”I am not really sure where we are, or where we are going, but I know if we keep pushing through the darkness, it’ll eventually run out. It’ll run out and all we will have left is light. Do you feel that? That’s my hand pulling you forward. Take it. It may not be very strong, and it may not feel like enough, but it’s a start. You are enough. You are not perfect, no, but you will always be enough. Take that step. I am here to guide you. Turn around. There isn’t just one pair of footprints in the mud. There are many. You aren’t alone. I’m here, too.”
One day, you’ll return to the field of gorgeous sunflowers, roses, and violets. There will be weeds, too, among the dandelions. As you grow up, you’ll pick less of them, not because your life is perfect, and not because you are pretending it is. But because, you’ve realized, sometimes others need the wishes more than you do. And other times, you wouldn’t change a thing about your perfectly imperfect life, because you know you are exactly where you are meant to be. You’ll realize that life isn’t a perfect picture, but a collection of moments that will show us who were are, who we want to be, and what paths we are meant to take. Something about the unpaved road with the thick brush and uncertain bends is whispering to you, “Stay here, trust me. You’re here, now, in this moment. You are showing up with your armor on, an armor made up of love and faith and molded by the fire that shines within your soul. Your shield may be battered, and your sword not as sharp, but keep trying. Keep moving forward in any way you can. You’ve had some great adventures, but don’t long for them anymore. If you try to go back, you’ll miss all the new ones ahead. Appreciate the lessons you learned when the road got tough. Appreciate the times when the sun shone brightly through the branches. And remember, you are exactly where you need to be right now. Be present, and revel in that.”
So, you’ll keep going on the path that you were meant to, leaving behind some dandelions without their flowers from when you needed some extra hope and you couldn’t see the light peeking through the trees. However, most will be immaculately holding onto all their parts, just waiting to be wished upon. You left them, not because you were done chasing your dreams, but because you had enough faith in your heart to keep going forward on your own.