I’m cleaning the kitchen tonight after a long, long day.
Scraping things together for the trash can, I come across this:
It is a pile of Mimosa Blossoms.
The tree is full at the edge of the yard.
Since I was a very small child, the Mimosa tree was something special to me.
I love the delicate fragrance of the blossoms.
The ferny-like construction of its leaves
The way it refuses to bud and blossom until you think it is really “done for” this year for sure . . .
And then, when most of the other trees are done blooming, it bursts into leaf
and almost overnight, it puts out these tufted, airy blooms that you can smell on the night air.
Tonight, in some of the happiest times of this day, on a golf cart loaded down with six kids,
I drove under the Mimosa tree and instructed the kids to smell.
They were awestruck.
And then they got the bright idea to pick.
There is only a gazillion flowers out there, and lots on the ground.
And so, they picked away.
The ones that ended up on my kitchen counter were for “Ms. Mary Ann.”
They lay there through supper,
through report card accounting,
through a quick trip to Dollar General for Diapers for the little guy,
through the time it took to take them home and come back again.
When we got back, Lem and Jess were already here.
Home for the weekend for a funeral in Jessica’s family.
Things got later and later, and finally, I was finishing up the kitchen,
And found the wilted heap of flowers.
It was too late for them.
And even if I had put them in the water first thing,
they wouldn’t have lasted past the morning.
Tonight the kids tried so hard to be good.
So many things got in the way, but still they tried.
I looked at the pitiful heap of flowers and
thought about their intentions in picking them for me.
And I wondered again about their lives and where this will all turn out.
Sometimes it seems like they are already on a wilted heap.
That there’s not enough time or nourishment or resources to save them.
Sometimes it just seems like it is too late.
But sometimes, in the hopelessness,
and in the brokenness,
I catch a fragrance in the night air.
Sometimes it a snatch of a Sunday School song.
Sometimes it’s the peek through my half closed eyes
and I see them holding hands around the table,
Singing the supper time grace.
Sometimes it’s a picture, carefully colored, brought for the refrigerator,
Sometimes it is grubby hands, picking delicate Mimosa blossoms
“For you, Ms. Mary Ann!”
“Lord Jesus, tonight, when it is easy for me to count the things I’d like so much to be different —
Help me to stop and breathe in the smell of Hope.
Help me not to give up.
There is so much at stake.
Not only for them —
But for us all. “