We Don’t Always Get What We Want

By Lynn Obermoeller

The black-eyed Susan is my favorite flower. The deep golden yellow intensified by its dark brown center begs for attention. The blossom’s droopy, pouting nature cries out, “Look at me! See my beauty.”

In my previous home, these golden wonders multiplied in the sunny part of the front of the house. When I moved, the first thing on my list was to plant black-eyed Susans in the sunny part of my new yard. I just knew they’d take off, multiply, and I’d have a hill of black-eyed Susans.

But every year, they’d dry up before the season was over and the following year, they wouldn’t show their face. After doing this for several years, I finally gave up and took pleasure in all of the other beautiful varieties of perennials that grew in my yard. Nothing seemed to bring joy to my heart like the sunny black-eyed Susan.

Then one year while tending to the back yard of mostly shady plants, I saw a mounded clump of leaves that seemed to pop up out of nowhere. A weed, I thought. What else would grow so fast and look so good? I started to pull it, but remembered my sister’s advice: it’s only a weed if you want it to be. I liked how the leaf looked and left it alone. This prevented me from planting something else since the asters nearby had also met their end. I noticed another clump in between the boulders in a small section of ground near the water’s edge. The lime green creeping Jenny invaded this area, so this cluster of darker green made a nice contrast.

As the heat set in and some plants started to find their way back into the ground, I noticed my weed had buds. I clapped my hands and wondered what kind of flower might bloom. Now I was really glad that I didn’t pull that so-called weed.

The next time I looked after the garden, much to my surprise and delight, there it sat, pouting proud – the black-eyed Susan. Stunned, I stood there and felt my heart open a little wider. The plant flowered for the remainder of the season. Every time I stepped outside, gratitude washed over me.

I learned a valuable lesson in the process – it’s not necessary to try and force something – whether it’s a plant to grow or for a child or anyone to do what you want, but to let nature take its course. If there is something I think I need and if I truly need it, it will be given to me in God’s time – in the natural scheme of things.

So when I’m having trouble growing something, I just surrender because I never know what gift may pop up!

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36 Responses to “We Don’t Always Get What We Want”

  1. Lynn–What a lovely story and what a necessary reminder. And your sister’s advice, “It’s only a weed if you want it to be,” is true; I have some purple and some red in my yard, and it’s all what others would call “weeds.”

    I love the idea of black-eyed Susans “pouting.” I’d never thought of them that way, but it’s an apt piece of personification. (I love coneflowers. They pout as well.)

    Thanks for writing this story and sharing it with the world.

  2. This is one of the most inspiring stories I have read in a long while. The take away messages made “my heart open a littel wider” too.

  3. Mark Valenti says:

    Very nice story, Lynn. You have an eye for beauty, an ear for words and a voice to share them.

  4. claudia says:

    Oh, Lynn…so beautiful!!!! Just right!

  5. Elsie Pondrom says:

    Lynn, I am so proud of you. I know your Mom has a smile on her face and saying , “That’s my Girl”.
    The story just tells me , What a beautiful person you are. I love you. Keep up the good work.

  6. What a beautiful story! I’ve always loved black eyed susans, too. And I love your sister’s advice that it’s only a weed if you want it to be. I’ve felt that way about many things!

  7. kimberly says:

    this is a great story about the pleasures of gardening and what we learn from it.. I am so happy to read this story.I have to look at my flowers differently now.

    But who is Susanne von Rennenkampff ?

  8. Tammy says:

    Wonderful lesson and so beautifully said!

  9. Faye Adams says:

    Great story. I, too, love wildflowers, and have my own wildflower garden. We live in the country, and have many varieties. Every spring, I watch as each puts forth its beauty in a hillside glade along the gravel road winding up the hill to our house. As one variety stops blooming, another follows on its heels. What a joy!

  10. Wow, Lynn! How beautiful. I knew you were a wonderful writer, but this is extra special!

  11. Susan Shelton says:

    Lynn, yours is a real-life story…culled into a parable about surrendering your will and rejoicing in the unexpected gift that results. What a sweet surprise and so well told!

  12. Robin Theiss says:

    Wonderful story, Lynn–with a great message. Thanks for sharing it!

  13. sheila aehle says:

    Lynn, Your story is delightful. i love the spiritual lessons which are gracefully weaved throughout. I often wait to see if a weed will flower in my garden too! am sad with the first mowing of the grass when the tiny violets and happy dandelions are blooming.

  14. Ruth Pondrom says:

    Love the story; wonderfully written.

  15. Michelle Jumper says:

    As always your style shows through with a nature and natural flair, a really enjoyable piece.

  16. Dawn Klefos says:

    I’m not a gardener but the analogy sure works for children, when it is time to let go and watch nature take its course. Thanks for the reminder, my friend!

  17. Pam says:

    What a wonderful story and reminder! I love your writing style. The Black-Eyed Susan is my state’s flower, and I know what you mean about their particular brand of beauty : ).

  18. Michele Morrison says:

    Enjoyed this story very much, Lynn…and congrats on your additional publishing status! I could visualize your garden and make similar connections with wisdom gleaned from simple experiences that are so packed with significant truth and beauty….this piece makes me want to be a fearless gardener, as well as an accomplished wordsmith, like you! Love that your dream of writing is HERE, NOW.

  19. Leslie O says:

    Lynn, The message is you! So glad
    you sent along. Leslie

  20. Gabriel says:

    Congratulations Lynn, on publishing a wonderful and inspiring story! It’s beautifully written and together with the Black-Eyed Susan photo, will brighten a dull day. The deeper spiritual message is a bonus for anyone who could pick it out. Bravo! Persistence pays off indeed!

  21. Lynn Obermoeller says:

    I would like to thank everyone for their thoughtful and kind responses to my story. It means a lot.

  22. What a delightful essay, full of beautiful surprises–just like the Black Eyed Susans. And I love the advice: “it’s only a weed if you want it to be.”
    Donna Volkenannt

  23. Such a lovely story, Lynn. I love these flowers myself, and am always anxious for them to bloom.

  24. Jess says:

    Absolutely beautiful, Lynn. You’re a writer and should never be any doubt.

  25. Cathy Hall says:

    Oh, Lynn, I love this! It’s so true that we often need to give plants (and kids) a little time to reach their God-given potential!

  26. Sue says:

    Lynn, I love this story. Thank you for sharing and for reminding me of the simple truth: In God’s time, not ours, all things are given. Love you.

  27. Alice says:

    Love flowers and the joy they bring. Every year my huband comments that my park takes up a little more space (surprised he noticed). Cute story and life lesson.

  28. Pat says:

    Lovely story, Lynn, with a beautiful message. You just can’t beat a black-eyed Susan!

  29. Thanks for sharing this story, Lynn. You are so right about how things unfold — “flower” — in unexpected ways when we surrender. (And I love black-eyed Susans, too!)

  30. Bud says:

    I love your story, Lynn! That’s so true that we don’t always get what we want. And unexpected surprises are beautiful!

  31. Joan Marie says:

    “I noticed my weed had buds”
    “Every time I stepped outside, gratitude washed over me.”
    “I just surrender because I never know what gift may pop up!”
    Oh Lynn…!! This is a BEAUTIFUL story..the kind that stays in your heart..and teaches a lesson that sticks!
    Great message..Great story!

  32. Patty Kneip says:

    Love the story! I, too, often get excited to see what plants will give me joy as they arrive each year, but never thought of the lesson by it, thanks for the lesson within.

  33. Maura Troy says:

    Great story, Lynn. Gardens, and life, are so interesting that way. The stuff you baby refuses to grow, and the stuff you ignore surprises you with it’s proliferation.

  34. Lovely allegory, beautifully told.

  35. Shelley Reese says:

    Oh Lynn, what a wonderful and beautiful ending of a story with such a lesson to be learned.
    Yes, you never will know unless you let God take it’s hand and lead you to a Great Big Surprise.
    Love you
    Just Me :) TRIPLETS !!!

  36. Lynn Obermoeller says:

    Thank you all for commenting and for all your kind words.

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