Last year in May, on the first anniversary of the passing of my mother, several different ladies from church gifted me with plants. I was so touched to think that they remembered the date and took the time to let me know it! I don't do well with doing that sort of thing for others and it made me feel very small and humble to think that they cared enough about me to remember with me.
One of them gave a lovely hanging basket. I didn't take a picture of it but it looked a lot like this...
I'm not very great with flowers. I love them and I dream of beautiful flower beds but I've never had them. You see, beautiful flower beds don't just happen. They take lots of tender care, not to mention some money and know how, and I just have never put in the effort. I have done some hanging baskets and window boxes and those type of things but even there my green thumb is lacking.
So. The lovely hanging basket gifted to me...
Well, with no porch I didn't have a good place to hang it, for starters. I planned to buy a hook to put by the door or a hanger of some kind to put out by our back patio but - you guessed it. It never happened. I'm ashamed to say what did happen, actually. The dear, thoughtful lady who was so sweet to remember and care might read this and how would she feel??
Maybe if I say it real fast and get it over with -- I hung it on the end of the clothesline and it died.
It lived for awhile. It bloomed profusely and looked gorgeous and I would notice it again and think, "I've got to make a better place to put this!" Then it started looking sickly. Jasmine was determined to nurse the thing back to life, so we cut it back and she watered it diligently. It revived somewhat but never to it's original glory and eventually it gave up completely and shriveled into nothing.
Me being the neat, orderly, particular type, I left the thing hanging right there on the end of the clothesline. It weathered the fall, and then the winter, and there it hangs still.
This morning I was out busily hanging my towels. The sun was hot and I was doing my job quickly - bend, select towel, flip on the line, pin pin pin.
I don't know what made me look at the empty basket hanging there forlornly on the end of the clothesline but it caught my eye and my busy fingers stopped short.
Could it possibly be?? Surely not a flower in the corner of that dry, empty old basket? However in the world could it be?!
But there it was, sure enough. Pushing up bravely through dry, old dirt was one little shoot with dainty, perfect flowers blooming brightly.
I stood still and gazed at it with a twinge of awe. How in the world did that brave little shoot emerge from a pot of dry dirt that had sat empty for over a year? A lump rose up in my throat and tears threatened to fill my eyes. The analogies and comparisons that could be made were endless and the beauty of a God who can bring life out of the dark, dry places filled my heart in that moment.
"To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified." Isaiah 61:3