The Gift of a Thistle

I am a big fan of the movie Braveheart. William Wallace, or at least the character depicted by Mel Gibson in the movie, is a man I find myself admiring and in many ways wishing to emulate. I am beginning to write more extensively about the spiritual applications found within the movie. But as I embark upon that project, I wanted to just share a one reflection.

There are many terms that can be used to describe the character of William Wallace. One of the greatest would have to be his dedication. That’s a great word to use because it touches on several of Wallace’s personality strengths: loyalty, commitment, diligence, and integrity. It is found in several areas, but perhaps most beautifully in terms of his relationship with Murron.

Murron MacClannough first appears in the film at the funeral of William’s father and brother. She is a very young girl maybe five or six years old. She sees William, only a few years older than she and now alone and in pain. Her feelings lead her to action, so she break away from her mother’s hand, picks a thistle, and presents it to the grief-stricken boy. At first glance you may think he merely looks into her face, taking in the gravity of the moment, and accepting this compassionate gift.


But look closer. Watch William’s reaction to the gift and you can see his future established in a heartbeat. He receives the flower, looking down at the tender gift given to him. Then, he hurriedly looks up. It’s subtle but important. He’s not startled, scared, or taken aback. His reaction seems to be driven more by his heart than his mind, for it is in that moment, that quick glance at Murron, we see a heart teaching a mind something that it will forever hold true.

Click here and see it yourself…


Some of you may say that I’ve just watched the movie too many times and am making this stuff up. However, I would invite you to follow the thistle as it returns back to Murron years later. After reconnecting with her, Wallace drops her back off at her home. As he leaves, he hands her a folded cloth. She opens the cloth, finding a perfectly preserved thistle – the very flower she had given him years earlier. What is her reaction? You’ve seen it before. She hurriedly looks up. It’s subtle but important. She’s not startled, scared, or taken aback. The thistle not only confirms his deep feelings of love for her, but it awakens in her the true love that she has also held for him. The similarities in the reactions reveal the connection that has existed between them for years. And while it is certainly romantic, it leaves me with one simple question.

How is it that Wallace, who has been gone traveling the world with his uncle for years, could have not only kept the flower, but the love of Murron for so many years? With all he had learned and experienced, he could have lived anywhere, choosing for himself a woman from any nation with beauty, power, charm or wealth – or all of the above. So what was it that brought him back to Murron – a simple, common Scottish peasant? She could have died. She could have already married. She could have forgotten about him or may have wanted nothing to do with him. But Wallace never listened to these thoughts. He refused to allow any of these ideas to enter his consciousness because the thistle reminded him of what his heart already knew – he loved her and her alone. And so he held fast to what he knew was in store for him.

We have that same level of certainty in the promises of God. Maybe it is like Wallace – a promise that God is going to bring you a spouse with whom you will share your life. Perhaps its focus is on your work, your calling, or the direction your life is supposed to take based on a simple decision you have in front of you. No matter the topic, God’s promises are a certainty. Wallace didn’t know when he would return to Murron, but he knew he would. He didn’t know what his life with her would be like, but he knew he would have one. God’s promises for us don’t always come in the way we envision, but we know they will come and will bring with them the fullest manifestation of the love that God intended us to have in them.

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him…” – Psalm 37:7


About day1of1

Author, Speaker, Educator, Husband, Father of two and follower of the One.
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