What Sunflowers Can Teach Us About Community

The Sad Sunflower: What Sunflowers Can Teach Us About Community

Recently, as I was leaving my parents’ home with my two sons in the backseat, there by the side of the country road on the outskirts of Willard, Missouri, I saw this sad sunflower, staring depressingly at the ground.

This seemed an odd picture since sunflowers are usually known for their bright, cheerful, and sunny dispositions. I could not stop thinking of this sunflower on my journey home. 

What had caused her to feel so sad?

Was it the threat of impending storms and the cloudy skies overhead? Was it an over-saturation of water due to the recent rain that saturated the Ozarks early that morning?

Or, was it because this one solitary sunflower was planted in a shady location, with none of her sunny friends to offer comfort and camaraderie? 

There is a popular meme on social media that shows a picture of two sunflowers, their heads facing each other, in what appears to be a sun-infused kiss.

The meme says something to the effect of:

“Sunflowers turn toward each other to share energy and nutrients when they cannot obtain these things from their one true source, the sun.”

Unfortunately, after doing a bit of research, I found that this is not an accurate portrayal of sunflowers

Rather than turn toward each other, sunflowers function best in a community, where they share a unified purpose. Their purpose being to parallelly absorb the collective energy from the sun. While they need each other for proper survival, the sun is the common denominator that brings them all together as one. 

Have you ever seen a field of sunflowers?

It may be one of the most glorious sights on earth. Thousands of bright, vibrant, cheerful heads, all facing the same direction. All with one common goal; to seek life-sustaining energy from the greatest source on earth, the sun; for which they are suitably named. 

What Sunflowers Can Teach Us About Community

How similar are we as humans?

While some may be introverted, have social anxiety, or just prefer to be alone, people need people.

We gain strength, vision, and wisdom from one another; especially when living in unity with our shared source, the Son.

Standing tall and upright in a field with so many others, relying upon the same spiritual energy and source of power that daily sustains us. We turn not to each other, we turn to our collective creator, in a unified desire to achieve a very individual purpose; to function, thrive, achieve, shine our sparkling beauty for all the world to see. 

Psalm 133:1 says: 

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!

God desires this for his children.

All singular sizes, shapes, individuals coming together and faithfully turning to him. Divisions aside, disagreements tossed far away, He designed humans to need each other in a unified act of needing Him.  

I believe this sad sunflower is simply missing her friends.

Her calling and her desire to be fed by the sun remains strong. Yet, the added support and encouragement to thrive in a community, powered by energy and love, simply cannot be overlooked. 

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