What do you do when life is tough and you feel like giving up? My mother taught me a valuable lesson.
No matter where we lived my mother grew a flower garden. Every blossom was important to her. On a Saturday she’d pick two beautiful bouquets, one for her church and another one for the Seniors Care Home across the road.
A visit in my mother’s home usually ended in her flower garden. I usually enjoyed this ritual, but on this afternoon I listened only half-heartedly to my mother’s cheerful chatter. My mind was on my husband who was languishing in a mental hospital. “It may take another twenty years,” the doctor had said. I didn’t want to burden my mother. Emotional talk unnerved her and she would probably tell me, “We do not give in to self-pity.”
As my gaze followed her small frame, darting in and out of rose bushes, I thought, Mother, you had reason to feel sorry for yourself. Why didn’t you? After seven years of marriage, she’d lost her husband in the Second World War. Life had pummeled her; people had disappointed her. Yet, she’d managed to keep a sweet spirit. Her consistently upbeat attitude both amazed and infuriated me. Didn’t she ever feel weak?
Suddenly my mother stopped her chatter. She gazed into my face and whispered, “How’s Bill?”
“Not good,” I whispered back.
Her sky-blue eyes became moist. “I’m sorry,” she murmured.
For a few moments she stared into a rose bush as though searching for something to say. “When life was tough, I planted flowers,” she said quietly. “They always bloomed for me.”
When I left her house, I determined I would adopt my mother’s maxim: When life is tough, find one corner over which you still have control, create something beautiful in it, then share it with others.
That’s why, come spring, you’ll find me in my garden tending my many flowers. Later when my yard is ablaze with color, I see in each radiant blossom a personal “I-love-you” message from God and a word of hope I can share with others.
Yes, flowers bloom for me too.