One day in late August I was in the kitchen making my lunch, and the doorbell rang. As I approached the door, I could see there was a woman at the door; a woman I had not seen before. She looked bedraggled and was carrying a straggly clump of flowers.
I opened the door and said, “Hello.”
“Hi” said the woman on the front porch. “I have no money to buy flowers. I would like to make a bouquet of flowers for my friend who is attending a funeral this afternoon and I was hoping I could have some flowers from your garden.”
Her eyes were sunken. Her face was drawn. She spoke with a slur. She was clearly someone whose life had presented her with hardships. Her body language was nervous; I sensed she was expecting me to tell her to go away.
As I took in her greeting, her story, her request, and her physical image, an energy started to build in the middle of my chest. This energy caused me to stand up straight and my heart to open.
“You can help yourself to any flowers you would like”, I said. She looked at me, her face started to tremble; her knees buckled and she collapsed to the porch floor, sobbing.
I knelt down, put my hand on her shoulder and said, “Wait here, I’m going to get some scissors so we can cut some flowers together.”
I raced to the kitchen, grabbed some scissors and bolted back to the front door. Oh my way to the front door, I grabbed a fresh bouquet of flowers sitting in a vase by the front door.
I walked out onto the front porch with the bouquet of flowers. “Here; these will get us started. Now let’s go into the garden and cut some more flowers for your bouquet.”
We walked down into the garden and I asked her to select some flowers she thought would be nice for her bouquet. As we were cutting flowers for her bouquet, I asked her who had died. She explained a friend who was a heroin addict “did not make it”. She shared that she too was a heroin addict but that her recovery was going well. She went on to share that she was making the bouquet of flowers for her friend who was going to the funeral in a couple of hours. The family of the deceased would only allow immediate family to attend and that while her friend was not immediate family, she was planning to attend the funeral anyways because she had been by the bedside of the deceased for the last two weeks of his life, while his immediate family had disowned him.
We spent about 10 minutes cutting flowers and she shared some of her life story with me. I was taken by her gut-wrenching honesty and candidness.
After gathering a large bouquet of flowers I asked, “How does that look?”, as I held up our marvelous bouquet and smiled.
“Great!” she said, with an equally big smile on her face. As she took her new bouquet of flowers in her left arm, she held out her right hand, and with a glorious air of confidence said, “My name is Grace.”
“Grace…indeed”, I said smiling. I said… “may I give you a hug?”. She teared up and embraced me. We held on to each other for a good 10-15 seconds—it felt like much longer.
“Off you go”, I said smiling. “Your friend has a funeral to get to.”
“Thanks”, said Grace. She turned, and started walking away. I watched her walk down the street, wiping tears from her eyes, and holding her new bouquet of flowers in her arms.
When Grace rounded the corner at the end of the block, I walked back up the front steps. I noticed a couple of flowers Grace had left behind from her original bouquet. They must have fallen to the porch deck when she collapsed in tears. My initial thought was “I must run after Grace to give her these flowers”…and then I thought, “No, I think I’ll leave them here to remind me of the angel that just dropped by to pay me a visit.”
Many of our faith traditions teach us that in giving we receive; equally, what we want to possess we must give away. Both these concepts may seem like paradoxes at best, and contradictory at worst. Yet, on this day, Grace was a divine teacher who gave me far more than I could ever have hoped to give her with a bouquet of flowers. Grace’s spirit remains with me to this day.
In love, gratitude, compassion and forgiveness…
Rev. Robert Meagher
About the Author:
Robert Meagher worked for almost 25 years in traditional corporate settings and acted in various management roles in the education, arts, financial, not-for-profit, government, consulting, and healthcare sectors. Along the way Robert earned bachelor and masters degrees and professional certifications. Robert left corporate Canada in 2009 to set himself adrift and explore a new way of living and seeing the world we live in. Robert is now an Interfaith Minister who embraces a spiritual life and now serves to guide all those who wish to accept the Divine into their lives. Through Spiritual Guidance Robert’s ministry initiative, he embraces the opportunity to serve those who wish to explore their own spirituality and gain insight into who they are, their purpose here in this lifetime and existence, and their desire to grow in Spirit. Robert can be reached at 613-204-0299, [email protected], or through
his website at www.servingyourjourney.com.