Last week I had the immense pleasure of cooking dinner for the women with whom I am living. When I was shopping for groceries, I decided to grab a bouquet of pink roses. I thought we could use something to brighten up the house and just celebrate the day for what it was – another successful day.
We kept the flowers on the dining room table for almost a week, and I honestly didn’t think too much of them as they started to bloom, then wilt, then fade. Before throwing them out, one of the girls in the house commented that I had picked some very good roses. I asked her how she knew that, and she told me that because they had bloomed and even started sprouting new buds, they had come from a good bush.
She saved a stem with a bud on it, placed it in water in a tall vase, and she is now carefully tending to this stem every day to see if it is capable of producing new flowers:
This may not look like much to the naked eye, but this little stem in a vase on an old kitchen sink counter brought me to tears. You see, just last night I was sitting on a couch with two women as they shared their stories of abuse, drug addiction, and life selling their bodies for sex and drugs on the streets. These ladies have lived in and through hell on earth in ways my brain can hardly fathom. Each story they tell, each flashback they have, each memory from a song brings forth so much darkness and death.
Yet, in the midst of having everything stripped away, these brave women are finding moments of light and life, not only for themselves but the people around them as well. When we are stopped at a red light at a busy intersection, they verbally express compassion and concern for the men and women panhandling for cash in the median. They ask how they can support people who are still in jail. They want to know how to serve and how to inject life in every corner of their worlds.
This little stem with a tiny bud may not seem like a big deal, but it represents everything good and full of grace that I get to experience during this unique season of life.