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"You can't count on me to take care of your sunflower. You'll need to be responsible for getting it what it needs," I said solemnly.
"I will," he said back, just as seriously.
It turns out he is a much better gardener than his momma. Not only did he water his sunflower, but he talked to it too. On most days throughout the summer he crouched beside the stalk and whispered to it. It grew and grew and grew and he kept talking. Eventually it towered over him and he looked up, cupping his hands around his mouth and raising his voice so the flower in the sky could hear him.
When the bloom finally burst open, it was huge. That fall we cut it down and he donated the flower head to his kindergarten science table. There were hundreds of seeds in the flower head. From one tiny seed, stuffed into a dixie cup by a five year old, hundreds were produced.
There is a parable of a farmer who sows his seeds. As he was scattering them, some fell on the path. The birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground and the seeds sprouted, but withered soon in the sun. Some of the seeds fell in a thorn patch. They grew, but were choked by the thorns. Still, other seeds fell on good soil where it produced a crop, a hundred times more than what was sown.
I feel like I'm sowing stories like the farmer sowed seeds. I nurture them, just like Sam did with his sunflower seed. (Maybe I can redeem myself by being a much better weaver of words than I am grower of plants.) Sowing stories is more than stacking words. It is living and sharing and honoring stories (my own and others) with words and actions.
Sometimes it might seem like our stories don't matter in the big world. Maybe it's not whether the story is worthy, maybe, just maybe it depends on where it falls. Because the world is big and there are many places our stories might land. They might be snatched away by the birds. They might be short lived in the rocks. They might be choked out by the thorns.
But there is always the possibility that they will land on good soil. When they do, stories serve a noble and good purpose. Our stories, when they land in prepared hearts, help others persevere. Our stories can inspire and encourage. Our stories offer sustenance.
Life is made up of strength and struggle, love and hope with giggles and thanksgiving filling the gaps. Our stories can change the world. Take the time to share yours today.