I turned the corner onto our street and braced myself. I had to talk rebuilding plans with our contractor, but just the thought of seeing that empty lot–where my family’s house had burned to the ground seven months earlier–made me feel sick.
That night still haunted me. Waking up to the blaring of smoke alarms. Bolting out of bed with my husband, Keith, and grabbing our two young daughters from their rooms. Huddling outside in our pajamas, shivering, before seeking refuge with a neighbor.
We lost everything but the clothes on our backs and a jumble of items a friend salvaged from the rubble. I knew I should be grateful my family had escaped unharmed. But I couldn’t help wondering why God left us nothing to start over with but dirt....
Sunflowers? I stopped the car and rubbed my eyes in disbelief. Instead of a bare dirt lot, there was a field of cheerful yellow sunflowers–hundreds of them–growing exactly where our house once stood.
We’d never grown sunflowers. None of our neighbors did, either. The contractor said they’d started springing up in our lot–and only ours–over the past few weeks. I stared at the vibrant flowers. Surely they were a sign from God, a promise: Life will blossom here again.
I snapped some photos and showed them to Keith.
“Sorry to burst your bubble,” he said, “but there’s a perfectly logical explanation. I had a baggie of sunflower seeds in the garage. The bulldozer razing our house probably plowed them into the dirt.”
So much for God’s promise.
The contractor finished our new house, and we moved in. Our lives really did blossom again. Still, weeks passed before I could bring myself to sort through the box of things recovered by our friend.
Keith and I dragged the box over by the trash can and tossed out one charred item after another. I felt like crying. Then Keith gasped.
“Barb, look at this,” he said. He held up the baggie of sunflower seeds he’d kept in the garage–still tightly sealed, with all the seeds inside.