Once upon a time a sunflower grew in a garden filled with flowers.
But it had lived its life at the edge of the garden and had been bruised and hurt by the many winds blowing in from the sea. By degrees it found itself bent by the weight of its pain and facing in to the shadows of the garden wall. Its petals soon became limp and lost much of their loveliness. All it could see was shadow, was dark, and life became sad and hard to live. It forgot about the sun in the sky and was conscious only of dullness and dreariness, the depth of the shadows.
Then one day the Gardener stopped to talk to His sunflower asking why it was so sad, why only the dark was attracting it while the sun shone brightly behind its bent back. The flowers all around joined in the questioning and encouraged it to turn its face up for a while.
As the sunflower took its courage in hand and slowly raised its drooping head to face the radiant light above, it felt itself filled with new life. Its petals opened widely to accept the warmth of the sun. Its seed-packed centre smiled as new energy entered its heart. Joy spilled out all around it and the flowers nearby felt the radiance affecting them, too.
As the sunflower unfolded more and more, opening its heart wide, new life stirred within. It began to understand that even its past pains were precious because through these it had come to know about patience, and most of all about compassion for all who are finding life hard. Even when clouds filled the sky it could now rejoice because it knew that it needed the tears of the clouds to help it grow and become strong. So joy, love and gentle care spread from the sunflower to every corner of the garden.
Then the day came when it was ready to scatter its ripened seeds to the winds that had previously buffeted it. These were carried far and wide so that more and more of God's world became beautiful with the glow of fields of golden flowers.
Even as it felt itself losing so much, the sunflower rejoiced and was glad because it had come to know that everything, even the wind and the storm, work together for good when God is the one it loves most.
Province of Australia- New Zealand