This short story I wrote last night as a way to express my grief for the loss of my dear friend Robbie Lawton, who died last week. It’s my way of visualizing how deep depression may feel. Robbie suffered from this for many years. Last week he simply couldn’t handle the darkness clouding around him anymore and decided to go to the light instead. Very brave.
A tale about the tallest sunflower
I once knew this sunflower, who was always curious about the world beyond what he could see. He felt so eager to see, feel, smell, hear and taste all that existed out there in the big unknown. He dreamt about how it might be…so green and lush and full of life. Then he pondered some more, as he did all the time, about all the creatures big and small, all sharing this wondrous place called planet earth.
Oh how he wondered: “How might it be…?”
With this wonderful dream in mind he grew and grew and grew until he had outgrown all the rest. There he stood so strong and tall, a beautiful flower like no other in sight. Now finally he could see all that he had wished for, all that time. All that was out there. So he stretched out just a little more and started moving his head, as if attached to the sun, looking around. Day after day he stood there tall and firm, slowly swaying in the wind.
But what he witnessed as time went by, made him shrink a little every day. The world out there, from way up high, was harsh and rough, he felt. It was screaming for his help. But what on earth could he do now… just a sunflower he was.
As the rain poured down on him, if felt like tears from mother earth. And when the storms came raging through, he was left trembling and shaken. Feeling the hurt of a planet in pain. Where once he had stood so proud, holding his head up high, he now felt small and desperate, feeling the struggle of the entire world weighing him down further, every day that went by. He started thinking day and night, of how he could save the world. And desperation soon reached his core, as he saw around him so much, that he couldn’t fix.
He was just a flower and was lacking wings to fly away and help out there.
He was just a flower and was lacking legs to run away and rescue those in need.
He was just a flower and was lacking arms to provide a helping hand to the chaos that he saw.
He was a flower once so tall, yet so small as he felt incapable in every possible way.
What difference could a flower make in a place so dark and gloomy?
As he stood there trembling and lost, not knowing what to do, he wanted so much to do what he couldn’t do… run left, run right… or just disappear and hide.
What he failed to see was just down below, where his shadow had quietly been helping all along. For it had provided a welcome home for plants, seeking shade from the piercing sun. It had been a safe haven for insects of all shapes and forms, that were hiding there and keeping cool. It was also just the right spot for little critters to stay out of sight from dangerous predators, while nibbling on some juicy plants.
Also in his loneliness he failed to see that his leaves were like umbrellas for those that are quite small. Like grateful spiders that otherwise would have been washed away by the rain.
With his eyes turned inward to hide away, he failed to see the smiles on the faces of passersby, admiring the incredible beauty and serenity of this sunflower so tall and bright. Such a wonderful sight.
As his heart was weeping, his petals slowly shrivelled up. He had lost all hope and hung his head down low. What’s the point of one flower trying to make a difference? What difference can I possibly make?
As the season changed and the sun grew tired of rising high up in the sky, the sunflower I once knew dried up and his petals fell off flying away with the wind. As the skies grew dark with rainclouds and the storms raged over the land, the ripened sunflower seeds fell down to the earth and settled into their new home. Lovely and moist as it was, The perfect conditions for little seeds to grow. Some seeds were eaten by thankful birds and taken to their nests. Where hungry little beaks were waiting to be fed. Other seeds were dropped somewhere in a place far from where they were born. Where they became sunflowers, so big and strong like the flower from which they came.
The sunflower that I once knew, finally gave a big sigh of relief. As with every one of his petals that was carried with the wind, a weight was lifted off his heart. He was no longer burdened by the sadness of his earthly life, as he now felt one with all there was and all there will ever be. He understood it all. He, who had stood so tall and proud, had indeed changed the world, just by being himself. Right where he grew, deeply rooted into mother earth. This realization made him so happy, that he shared his wisdom with all his friends.
And to this very day you can see this wisdom in all the flowers, everywhere on this beautiful planet. As they stand tall and proud, smiling at passersby. So whenever you see a flower, remember to stand up tall and proud and smile right back at them.