October 01, 2014

Velcro Friends

Sandals fastened with hook and loop tape
This is the blog where I'm supposed to be changing my attitude into something positive, right? It's been a slow process, but I've heard it called a journey, kinda like "Pilgrim's Progress" by John Bunyan. Well, I decided to give myself a Pollyanna exercise this week. A few months ago, I mentioned that one of my online friends, Merry, has stuck fast to me like a burr. I didn't mean for it to sound like a bad thing, but I meant it as a good thing in that she has been a faithful friend and I appreciate that!
Perhaps it was my choice of word that niggled at me. My intent was good, but I didn't carry through and explain my metaphor, so in this little exercise, I decided to look for the positive in a cocklebur that so many think of as a weed. I once heard a saying that a weed is a plant planted in the wrong place.
I asked my husband for his help. First off he said he didn't believe cockleburs were in the Garden of Eden, but were only created after Adam's fall from grace. I asked him how he figured that and he said he bases his belief on these two verses: Genesis 3:17-18: To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it.' Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field."
He said perhaps this is where the negative connotations associated with these plants come from. However, he said, God can help us find the good in the bad things. We all experience tragedies in our lives, however, as Paul was inspired by God to write in Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
So I purposed to study the cocklebur plant and here's what I learned =
First Section:
POSITIVE = God created the cocklebur as an annual which is a good thing because that means it lives its whole life in one season.
NEGATIVE = However, the seed pods come with a built-in, long-lasting, back-up plan; its twin lies dormant underground until months or sometimes years later. In order to exterminate the plants, it is necessary to destroy the plant before the seeds ripen by cutting down, mowing or burning a field. This was Adam's natural consequence for NOT obeying God's directive -- he was given an annual reminder when he had to get rid of the pesky buggers.
POSITIVE = But a persistant plant could illustrate a faithful friend, don't you think?

Number Two:
POSITIVE = The cocklebur has both sexes of very fertile flowers on one plant. The male makes the pollen which pollinates the female flowers below, which in turn makes the seed pods for the next generation. Sounds like a perfect illustration of a family to me -- one male plus one female equals babies.
NEGATIVE = God gave the cocklebur natural defenses. It is toxic to livestock in its infant stage, both the seeds and the seedlings, and the green and purple plant is covered in short stiff hairs and the leaves have a distinctive scent. It wears signs that says "DON'T TOUCH ME!"
POSITIVE = The cocklebur has been used for medicinal purposes. In Chinese medicine, for instance, it has been used to treat nasal & sinus congestion.

Number Three:
POSITIVE = He created them to grow in all sizes; from 8 inches to 6 feet tall. Sounds like people again -- we come in all shapes and sizes too!
NEGATIVE = God fabricated the football-shaped, spiny seed pods as globetrotters so they can hitch a free ride on clothing or in animal fur should it be brushed against.
POSITIVE = Several inventions have been based on the cocklebur. Velcro (hook and loop fasteners) was invented in 1941 by a Swiss electrical engineer named George de Mestral who returned from a hunting trip and noticed burs stuck to his pants and tangled in his dog's fur. The cotton gin and the crochet hook were also modeled after the spiny burs.

Number Four:
POSITIVE = God created cockleburs with a single taproot, like its cousin the dandelion, so the whole plant can be pulled from moist ground in one or two yanks.
NEGATIVE = It can cause allergic symptoms in susceptible people either from inhaling the flower pollen, like its cousin the ragweed plant, or contact dermatitis.
POSITIVE = In the crafting industry, cockleburs have been used to produce a yellow dye and in producing products such as baskets like the one my sister made the first Christmas after she married. She combed the roadsides and fields near her tiny apartment for burs to make our mother one for Christmas.

In closing, I provided two positives for every negative about the cocklebur and not only that, I showed that a bur could be used as a metaphor for a loyal friend. I am thankful for stick-to-me friends who are brave enough to continue being my friend and are willing to overlook my sometimes foot-in-mouth disease which I have struggled with all my life. Thank you Jesus, too, for loving me and being a faithful, forgiving friend despite my sinful nature inherited from the first parents, Adam and Eve.


  1. That is a beautiful post and I am very happy to be thought of as a burr. I am sorry I missed the first time you mentioned me as a burr. I enjoy reading your posts....like these, so much information I never knew. Like the invention of velcro and crochet hook...who can live without them. Also that you can create a dye from the plant. Wonderful. I like to garden and somewhere in my lifetime I have either read or heard someone comment that weeds are just plants that people don't want. So really all plants are necessary and its just the gardener that decides which ones to remove. Have a lovely day

    1. Thank you, Merry, for being a burr -- a faithful friend and for visiting my blog today. I read that many inventions have been based on things found in nature and in this instance, what has been seen as bad has been used for good. Good day to you also! :)


"Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe." (Hebrews 12:28).