I realized that I never told the story behind this blog title. It happened to come up this weekend and I thought it would be a neat addition.
About a year ago, it so happens that I found myself in a very lonely place spiritually. The burden of the reality and difficulty of my students´ lives in inner-city Portland was leaving me feeling hopeless, and God seemed nowhere to be found. Didn´t God care about their suffering?
I set out walking down Lincoln St. I felt desperate and that God was so distant. It was then that I ran into a beautiful garden of sunflowers, reaching their golden petals towards the sky. They looked the sun face on, as if appreciating, while dependant on the life-giving rays.
A year and a half prior I had adopted the symbol of the sunshine. I was traveling abroad for eight months, and I believed that God would shine like the sun through my smile and the joy in my life. God´s presence was so evident in that season.
Now that day on that walk, the sun was nowhere to be found.
Yet I heard so clearly, the sunflower is living proof that the sun exists. Without the rays from the Giver of Life, no one can know the beauty of the sunflower. Therefore, when you cannot see the sun itself, look for the sunflower.
I was comforted that day by the sunflower.
I was reminded recently of this story when I got a birthday package from a dear friend, and in it was a gorgeous sunflower bracelet.
It was a search for these sunflowers that has led me to Buenos Aires, and through them I have known that the sun is faithful to give new life. The sunflowers I have found here are the warm hugs of little girls who cry out, "Margarita!" and wrap their arms around me with all of their might on the diry train station floor. They are the dancing feet of a boy included in a party that he never would have dreamt of attending. They are the lyrics of being seen, loved, and given a name- shouted out by those who society niether sees, loves, nor gives names of dignity.
These are the sunflowers of Buenos Aires.