So, Why is Sunflower Like That?

“If there is a powerful symbol for someone who diligently follows, someone who completely puts his whole attention to someone or something and remains completely faithful no matter what the conditions may be, it is the sunflower."

SO, WHY IS THE SUNFLOWER LIKE THAT?

by Jerry Lohera

Jerry Lohera 1

 

Jerry is a Columban seminarian who did his First Mission Assignment in Pakistan.  He is now back in the Philippines finishing his studies.

We regularly visited the Christian communities in Badin, a city in the province of Sindh, Pakistan. Since I was born in the Philippines, being in a country with four seasons was something new to me. Every season means a different kind of crops for planting and harvesting— rice, wheat, cotton, apples, almonds, pistachio, mustard, dal and pulses etc. Springtime was my favorite, because the season is neither too cold nor too hot.

One spring evening, we went to a Parkari Christian community. To my astonishment, the sunflowers were in full bloom along the road we were taking. Because they were facing the east, towards our direction, it felt to me like a crowd of a thousand people was staring at me. It was impossible to ignore them because their presence was somewhat irresistible.

On another occasion of visiting another Christian community, I noticed something very strange about the sunflowers. It was like a ‘eureka’ experience. I discovered that sunflowers still face to the east at night time.  I heard that they follow the direction of the sun, but why do these ones remain facing to the east even when the sun has completely set?

Apparently, once the sunflowers have reached maturity, they stop turning to the west with the setting sun and remain facing east all day long. I thought, “If there is a powerful symbol for someone who diligently follows, someone who completely puts his whole attention to someone or something and remains completely faithful no matter what the conditions may be, it is the sunflower”. It may bend to the blows of a storm but as long as its roots are firmly gripped on the ground, the sunflower will, again, stand tall facing east to greet the sun through which vegetation and life on earth becomes possible.

It seems fitting to quote the poem of Evangeline Patterson which perfectly sheds light to my point:

And that will be heaven

And that will be heaven

And that will be heaven

At last, the first unclouded seeing

 

To stand like that sunflower

Turned full face to the sun, drenched

In light, in still centre

 Held, while the circling planets hum with an utter joy

 

Seeing and knowing

At last, in every particle

Seen and known, and not turning away

Never turning away again.

 

Despite the uncertainty of what lies ahead because of the pandemic, God encourages us to be still and remember that He is still the God who deeply cares for us. Like the sunflower, may we remain attentive to His abiding presence in our lives and let Him direct us in this maelstrom.

Jerry Lohera 2