I recently read about a young woman who watched a man step on a daisy that had worked its way through a crack in the sidewalk. The woman was saddened as she looked at the now frail and bruised flower. She wondered if the man purposely stepped on it, or if he was so preoccupied in thought that he did not see it.
Sometimes I have felt like that daisy when divorce, childhood abuse, and cancer has "stepped on me."
The next day the woman was walking down the same sidewalk and was pleased to see the same daisy raised up facing the sun. A couple of petals were missing and the stem was not perfectly strong, but with effort the daisy was determined to live that day with joy and pride. Its face almost seemed to be smiling and saying, "I was knocked down, but I am back up again."
There is the legend about the flowers along a dusty road that Jesus was to walk on a particular day. All the beautiful flowers along the road to Jerusalem primped and took great pride in their beautiful colors, smells, petals and strong stems. The lonely thistle plant with its many thorns was left to stand among the other weeds far from the flowers. As Jesus walked by he smiled and nodded to the flowers, but when he saw the thistle he stopped and marveled at it. "You are the most beautiful flower, which has struggled to bloom surrounded by a crown of thorns."
The first time I had cancer and lost my hair, I felt like the thistle, too different and not acceptable. My husband, family, and friends showed their love for me without hair. I learned to love myself despite "my thorns."
The Last Leaf is a wonderful O'Henry story about how a struggling and elderly artist saves a neighbor's life who is convinced that she will die when the last leaf falls off the ivy plant outside her window. While she sleeps through what she thinks will be her last night, he paints a leaf on her window during a very cold and rainy autumn night. The man paints his finest work of art only to die from pneumonia a few days later. The woman recovers fully and lives with a renewed faith in life.
Too often we humans give up on whatever challenge we are facing. Sometimes we need the helping hand of a neighbor to help us see our life as it is meant to be.
I hope you enjoyed these stories and lessons from the plants. We each have so much to learn from the plants and flowers which God created for us. I am in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul, MN visiting family and friends. The trees and plants are different from those I am accustomed to seeing in Florida, but they all bring me peace, joy, and fill my soul.