Did she know before we would what the world would need? Did she know the magnitude of darkness that would soon be? Perhaps it was a gesture as simple as what they mean; white roses in remembrance when someone departs, an honoring. But since something much bigger than us all orchestrates messages for us to heed; much more my beautiful bouquet has been trying to speak.
A representation of purity, of innocence, of light – as defined, the symbolic opposite of darkness – light.
I reread “Soft White Petals” and I reflect on this past week. Have I made my footprints on my life journey the best steps they can be?
I felt joy through each crunch of the fallen leaves, my exercise partner running beside me. My ears opening further in each trail we traveled through; ‘hearing’ how in endings there is promise of brand new. Five more months give or take before the barren trees bud and sprout green; certainty that the cycle of life will bring new beginnings.
I felt peace and tranquility as the blue heron flew beside me. Life had tapped loved ones on the shoulder with a health change of someone they hold dear; my focus on peace to counter any fears. My soul also in harmony from a wonderful weekend collecting on a birthday gift; an annual tradition to surprise each other with making memories together – me and my sis.
I felt gratitude for the Universe – it never leaves my side; countless answers to wishes time after time. “May our weekend travels be safe” and a Universal orchestration to ensure it would be; a detour for a missed turn revealed the purpose of our circling. Highly likely part of an accident if we had been earlier in arriving. And another example of a simple request that we would find a front row parking spot for the few minutes we would need; two empty spots front and center affirming the ‘simple’ is truly extraordinary.
I felt compassion and love for so many friends in pain, struggling to hold on to their hope and faith. Divisions growing wider, darkness and light at war. Anguish, anger, clamoring for footholds, all impacted to their very cores. Doing the only thing I know to do; trust in the purpose of what we go through. My own faith that in the devastation so many feel will be the catalyst for change the world needs; through their knowing, their deep understanding hate is not the answer, a new world they will influence to be. We learn best through opposites and only in the opposites can we end the cycles that need to break; hopelessness begets hope, hate begets love, dark begets light – each of us a choice we can make. Under the bodies we inhabit, as souls we are all the same; that we can all come to see that to the Universe a very deep wish I make.
I thought of holding on to the white roses, a keepsake I could preserve and keep safe. And then I thought about the giver of this beautiful bouquet. Though I learned some of her story, I only caught glimpses of her full life. Her age would suggest she had lived through a significant point in time. She lived during a time when the world was in a very dark place; when an immense judgement of an entire race. I do not know what she thought of that time or how it may have shaped her values and her views.
But I know that she surrounded herself and anyone who knew her with incredible beauty of many breathtaking hues. Her garden full of yellows, blues, greens, pinks, reds, and white. Flowers planted, colors blended together to create a stunning sight. The yellow of joy, the green of peace, hope, and healing. The pink of gratitude, the magenta of new beginnings. The white of light, the red of love, the blue of faith. Into this world she cast a very powerful array.
One by one as each rose reaches its final display, I will release each to continue its way. To flow with the creek downstream, on the currents of steadiness and strength. To flow into nooks and cracks and forks of whatever direction the creek takes. Perhaps a petal will glide by a stick that nothing else could pass by. That petal finding a tiny opening, a crack of light. In partnership with the petals are the leaves that have also let go; their sureness of upcoming rebirth as they also join the flow.
These beautiful petals are not meant to hide; into this source of life, the water will carry each petal of light.
From the first warmth of Spring to the last frost of Fall, an array of colors in bloom, some low to the ground and others rising tall. Shared conversation about many a thing, while looking out the window frequently. This beautiful garden our centerpiece as she reminisced of her life to me. The garden forming before the walls of her home started to take shape, a dirt bed sanctuary for her special keepsakes.
My honor to not only meet this special soul, but a treasured part of this breathtaking garden would follow me home. I can still see her smile as she insisted I take a bouquet of my choosing and the feel of the garden scissors she handed me. Unable to join me for a stroll through her masterpiece, but from the door her gentle guidance of what I needed to see. My pause at a beautiful red and yellow flower brought a twinkle to her eye. “Have you ever seen one like that?” then her await of my reply. “I don’t think so” brought a further glow to her already joyful face. A flower she brought with her from Germany she went on to explain.
A wise teacher instructing how to cut each stem from the base so as not to injure this rarity. Then a gently wrap of each stem in a wet napkin that they would endure my travels safely. That when I got home they would be ready to stand in a vase as brilliantly as they did in their garden base. That each time I glanced at them I would remember one of the most treasured experiences I had this day. Her elegant blend of humility and pride wanted me to treasure the flower as she did too; that I would think of her with great fondness not what she expected me to do.
Our paths crossed with her knowing she wouldn’t see the blooms of Spring again, aware she was that her life journey was nearing its end. The original purpose for our intersection not something she wished to pursue; a written life story she decided she no longer wished to do. Perhaps I should better say the original intent not done, but purpose was still achieved. I was meant to have my heart and life imprinted from time shared with a soul as radiant as the garden she relished tending.
Each time I have the honor of meeting with someone where the timing of death is more known, I find myself in awe of the reflection of how their life did unfold. I relish seeing the connectivity, how one event was preparation for what ahead wasn’t yet seen. I love to hear the gratitude and the immense love, how someone sees that abundance and blessings aren’t in ‘stuff’. I equally delight in all the ways I see how someone has touched many a life and what footprints they will leave; and I think to myself “what an incredible life, such an amazing legacy.”
And as part of the gift given to me, I pause and make sure I give time to think – am I doing all I can to make my footprints on my life journey the best steps they can be? How about your footprints, what imprint do they leave? What indents remain when you are no longer seen? As the expression states about someone being happier after time spent with someone else, would that be what others tell? Would someone you stood behind in a store walk away smiling when they walked out the door? Would someone watch you and see the lightness in the steps you take? Or would they ponder why you appear to be wearing a heavy heart today? Would someone be inspired or feel encouraged after hearing words you speak? Or would they see what “isn’t” and “can’t” and fill with negativity?
No matter the age we’ve lived or the perception of what we can do “someday”, every moment is the potential to leave our footprints along the way. It can be easier to hear how we need to make the most of each day because we aren’t given a guarantee, easier than the truth of these words being fully seized. The honor of time with this extraordinary gardener affirmed another truth; the essence of who we are repeatedly shows through. We learn, we grow, we evolve, and we change; but there are some core aspects that tend to remain.
Like a beautiful years old garden that I had the privilege of walking through on a late Spring day.
When the call came that there was a gift to receive, these words kept repeating within me. “Don’t shed a tear” a replay in my mind. Perhaps like the poem “Don’t Weep for Me” by Mary Elizabeth Frye. Her gratitude to all who aided her during her final months was payment one hundred twenty-five ways; the most elegant white roses to be divided among many a vase. Again, my honor for having my path meet this luminous soul one day a few months ago. And once again a treasure I would get to take home. Just as then, I am sure what she would want of my glance at these each time; to reflect more on the beauty of nature in these pearls of white. As then I will also glance and fondly remember a very special day; a day my life became more blessed by extraordinary grace.
In a few days, the soft petals will further unfold before letting go, their purpose then achieved. To have brought smiles, joy, appreciation, reminders of life’s blessings. Each precious bloom holding affirmation that we always receive far more than we give. And that there are very breathtaking ways to leave a final footprint.
A carriage ride guided by a driver one might label “carefree”. Introductions to a street sweeper, a published poet with impeded speech. The street sweeper who did not find words easy to voice was touching hearts with his weaved words of choice. The driver with an Engineering degree opting instead to chauffeur strangers during vacation retreats.
The street sweeper once high on a corporate ladder, now a broom he leads. The driver with a message “each day fully seize”. The street sweeper with a smile that doesn’t hold any trace of defeat. The driver with a gentle reminder “each person has a story – often unseen”.
Would I have noticed this street sweeper if a driver hadn’t shared what at face value I couldn’t see? Or would I have passed by the street without even glancing? Would I have given this sweet soul near the time I have given him since? If he had said “hello” would I have quickly smiled, returned a “hello”, yet not been moved to write this?
A thud against a window pane can send me running immediately; my hope that an extended hand will help a friend regain its wings. Soft words the encouragement, or sometimes no words need to be said; warmth and a steady hold enough for it to catch its breath. “Namaste little one, you are okay”; then a watch for the rise and fall of the chest to slow and the eyes to begin to awake.
I can notice one so slight who will soon fade into an indistinguishable flock of many in the sky. Do we give the same attention to a stranger, to a passerby? I can hold a feathered friend in my palm and feel I have just received a gift in the moments shared. Do we give encounters with strangers the same care? Is there a loud knock against a window, metaphorically, that we do not heed? A non-assuming person who has something to teach?
The story of this gentleman with a broom still largely a mystery; what turn of events led him to tending to this street? I anticipate it is intertwined with tragedy of some kind, a fork in the road where the human spirit temporarily died. But I also perceive that just as my little winged friend caught its breath to fly more, this gentleman found a strength and will at his core. Just as this winged friend has a purpose to continue to sing that we benefit from its melody, this gentleman too has a purpose that includes sharing his heart through his poetry.
Each person has a story, more often than not one we may never see. And yet, it is often the quietest ones who have the most to teach. Perhaps there is opportunity to listen more than we do. Like hearing the story from a gentle soul and the push of his broom.
Have you noticed a stranger today? And if so, in exactly what way? Did you go through the motions of “how are you?” Or did you pause to see if their eyes and tone matched in “Fine. And you?” Did you appreciate something about them, how they impacted people across their path? Or were you in a hurry and had no time for chit chat? If they were in a role to service people’s needs, did you think about saying “thank you for being you”? Or did your subconscious automatically think “it’s their job, what they are paid to do.”
She complimented my bracelet as she handed me change. “Where did you get it?” her inquisitive face. A “thank you” and “a friend gave this to me”. Met with “I wish I had a friend like that”, she said only half-jokingly. I continued on my way to eat; on her way to take care of more strangers in need. A friendly greeting, a warm smile; continually she would go the extra mile.
And then the Universal nudge, a written note a must. Pen to paper, appreciation expressed and a message “keep being as you are. People are lucky to have their paths cross with you as they come and go from afar”. Signed “a friend” given to her as I went in my way. I don’t know the full impact but I anticipate it made both of our days.
A kindred soul in the sharing of curly hair that relishes humidity Her natural joy the early morning greeting An energy that didn’t have room for wasting any moments not living every day; infectious her joking and bubbly traits.
Anorher note, appreciation and “keep bring you”. Signed a kindred curly-haired spirit grateful for what you do. I can still hear her echoes in my mind and stamped within my soul. Her surprise and gratefulnss as she exclaimed loudly “oh my goodness, a passenger just gave me a note”.
The impact immediately felt, that joy of receiving when the heart whispers “that felt good” with no other expectations from it. Well, maybe that isn’t entirely true; maybe I do hope for more to take place I hope that a single gesture pays forward a gesture I may never see. That many a life is positively touched among people I may never meet. Kindness does not cost, yet it is one of the richest gifts we can give away. Who might you be able to touch today?
He lay on a blanket, protected, insulated, an assurance his bones wouldn’t begin taking on the bitterness of the cold hard cement. His feet wrapped in remnants of an old coat; was it a layer of warmth, or were there cracks and scars on the bottom of his feet from miles of walking? A whisper within said “it is the latter”.
His head stuck out from the coat that wrapped his body in warmth, and he watched, and watched, the people walking by, to his left, to his right, maybe a pause to say hi. He didn’t talk back, he didn’t react outwardly, but inside his role as GUARDIAN beat his heart as he lay there.
He knew some that walked to his left and to his right were judging his friend beside him. He knew some were saying “you must help yourself” or “why did you pick here?”. They weren’t looking for a miracle, they couldn’t see the purpose, they didn’t know that at the moment you give, you RECEIVE.
It had only been a few months ago that I witnessed the love of the GUARDIAN and his friend, a few months ago that the stirring in my heart at seeing them together whispered “the friend is safe, he walks along side the most incredible love”. And I walked on, as one to the right and to the left of where he watched.
And then I made a vow.
They sit there together as teachers, us to their right and to their left the students. Will the miracle be to learn compassion? To witness love? To see the role of the GUARDIAN as the ultimate angel who reminds us that we are always surrounded by Universal safety and love? To witness how friendships and family-ship give us hope and reason to press on, to focus us more than our selves?
It was a simple act of kindness, one might say ordinary in every day moments of life. A gift of warm food, and a smile. Looking into the GUARDIAN’s eyes we talked about his role, his purpose for his friend, and his friend softly said “we found each other” and “God bless”.
And in that extraordinary miracle moment hearts opened a little more and the world became a brighter place. And I got to look into the eyes of
=GOD. (D O G)