As we head towards the end of November the following old traditional German story has a message...
In the middle of a rubbish dump a little sunflower grew. She was the only flower around and it was often sad. At night it would dream of lush meadows and fields of bright flowers surrounded by butterflies. One day a sparrow stopped beside her, looked up at her and said: "How beautiful you are." "I'm not" said the sunflower, "I am sure my sisters are so much taller and more beautiful." "For me you are the most beautiful of all" chirped the sparrow and flew away. Each day the sparrow visited the sunflower and their friendship grew stronger with time. But one week the sparrow didn't come. The sunflower was very worried until one morning she awoke to find the sparrow lying in front of her half dead.
"Are you dead my little friend? What has happened?" Slowly the bird opened its eyes and said, "For the last few days I have found no food here in this rubbish dump. I have no strength and I've come so that I can die close to you." "No, no" said the sunflower, and with that she lowered her flower head towards the ground and shook some seeds in front of the sparrow. The sparrow ate and fell asleep.
Next morning it awoke bursting with energy and chirped to thank the sunflower. But he got a shock as the sunflower petals had all gone limp and her leaves hung down lifelessly. "What has happened" chirped the sparrow. "Don't be worried" said the sunflower, "My time is over. Here I thought that my existence was meaningless. But now I know there is a purpose to everything. Without you, I would have lost my will to live and without me, you would have lost your life. Make the most of the seeds on the ground and do leave some behind for other sunflowers to grow and continue the beautiful cycle of life that God has given to each of us."