Lessons From the Lone Daisy

 

We have a flower bed off our front porch that has been a challenge to fill with flowers that will thrive.  It’s a mostly shady area because of our large Golden Rain Tree whose branches provide that shade in abundance.  However, through some pruning of the branches over the years, and some further pruning of a huge bush beside the flower bed, there is now a little more light that comes into that area.  I’ve tried a large variety of plants and flowers over the years in that spot, but even now with a little more sun, finding a plant that will keep growing has been difficult.

 

This year I decided to plant several flowers in that bed, flowers that are designed to bloom in shade or partial shade.  I’m still not tremendously pleased with how they have done this year.  I’m just not seeing the huge display of blooms all summer that I had hoped to see.  One of the flowers that I chose to plant are Gerbera Daisies.  They bloomed for awhile….at least enough blooms to give me hope…..but now they are just sitting there in the dirt, living but not blooming.

 

Except for one that put out a beautiful bloom last week.  It was a perfectly formed, bright pink bloom that caught my eye when I walked outside one morning.  Today the bloom is a little worse for wear, but still pretty in that sea of green.  That flower is a beautiful pink splash that still draws my attention when I look outside.  It doesn’t matter that it’s small……it doesn’t matter that it’s alone……it just matters that at least one of my little Gerbera Daisies decided to bloom and give me some pleasure.  I doubt if anyone driving by our house even notices it, but I do, and I’m thankful for it.

 

That small flower reminds me of something that happened recently.  Someone we know was going through a crisis with a family member.  It’s not who any of you are thinking of…..it was someone else.  J  Anyway, I felt compelled to run to the hospital and pay this dear family a quick visit.  Now I generally pull back from going to the hospital very often.  It’s not because I don’t care but it’s because I always worry about being in the way, showing up at the wrong time, or just not knowing what to say or do that would be helpful.  I do care for these sweet people and I felt like the Lord really wanted me to go, so I got in the van and I drove to the hospital.

 

The nurse on the floor helped me find the family.  They were in the family lounge, waiting while a procedure was being done on their loved one.  The Mom, my friend, was so happy to see me.  We hugged, long tender hugs, several times.  She asked me if I wanted to stay, to sit down in a nearby chair, but I said no.  I told them that I just wanted them to know that they are loved and prayed for, and that I wanted to give her a hug conveying that love.  I told them that they are not alone.  I was there less than five minutes…..maybe three minutes.  I felt like they needed time together in that otherwise empty family area…time to let down, to talk to each other, to pray….and so I gave one more hug and I left.

 

I walked back to the parking garage and drove home wondering if I should have stayed longer.  I wondered if it looked silly for me to make such a quick visit.  Did they think I didn’t care enough to sit down and talk awhile?  Did I come across as uncaring?  So I prayed and I asked the Lord to use that very brief visit to encourage them, the way that I intended, and I tried to quit fretting about it.

 

I got a text yesterday.  I hesitate to say much because I don’t want to sound like I’m boasting at all, but I want this to be uplifting to each of us.  This mother and friend told me that my visit was the most meaningful to them, and how grateful they were for it.  Now I was the one being encouraged!  And why do I share this?  Because that simple visit was like my Gerbera Daisy in my front flower bed.  That very brief and plain visit turned out to be a splash of loving color in their sad and worried hearts.  I felt like I didn’t accomplish much, but little did I know that God took my small effort and used it as a huge blessing in their lives.

 

I bet no solo I ever sang on that podium for all those years touched them like that one small visit.  And I want all of you to know that you don’t have to do big things to be a needed encouragement in someone’s life.  I’m not trying to build myself up…..I want to build each of you up to know that the littlest kindnesses are really huge, especially when God takes them as intended and uses them to touch a life.

 

My little lone Gerbera Daisy has given me a smile inwardly every time I have seen it for the past few days.  And your little lone touches in a person’s life can make them smile and give them hope to keep going in ways which you may not even be aware.  We don’t have to stand before hundreds, speak before crowds, write bestselling books, or any of the other multiple things that so often spell success to us.  We just need to give Jesus our simple loaves and fishes, and then watch Him multiply them over and over.  We have no idea of the effect of our prayers in our closet, of a card sent in the mail, of an email of encouragement, of a home cooked meal, of a simple hug, or of a phone call.

 

You may feel alone or ineffective, but you are never those things when you give to God your simple desires to bless others.  You can be a beautiful splash of color and hope in someone’s life when you do the simplest acts with a loving heart.  Remember the daisy.  It doesn’t matter that it’s alone…..it doesn’t matter that it’s small….it just matters that it decided to bloom and therefore to give me great delight every time I see it.

 

So bloom today where God has put you.  Look around and see how you can bring pleasure and delight to someone who needs that in their lives right now.  And remember that it’s usually in the smallest, simplest ways that we impart those blessings to others.

Yes, Another Great Clips Story!

I just can’t resist.  Here I go again, writing yet another blog about Aaron’s visit to Great Clips this morning.  I’ve written several blogs about his times there.  What is it about Great Clips, you might ask?  Or maybe not.  Anyway, it’s as if Great Clips is a microcosm of Aaron’s life and ways every time we go there.  He’s funny and unfiltered and embarrassing……and more……from the second he walks in the door.

Last night I told Aaron that we might go to Great Clips the next morning to get his hair cut.  The operative word was MIGHT, because somehow Aaron rarely hears that word when it comes to possible places we might go.  That’s why I usually wait until the very last minute to tell Aaron of a possible trip.  If it doesn’t work out, he is not happy at all.  The operative word is NOT, as in NOT happy AT ALL.  But I wanted to tell him last night that we might…..MIGHT…..go to Great Clips so that he could be mentally prepared to get up early and leave the house hopefully before 9:00.  This is out of Aaron’s routine and he needs a good reason to get out of his routine.  A GOOD reason.  And Great Clips is a GOOD reason for Aaron.  He loves going there. 
 
The reason I had told him we MIGHT go to Great Clips is because I never know how long the wait will be for a haircut.  If the wait is too long as we are on our way to his day group, then we can’t go.  No MIGHT about it at that point, but Aaron never sees it that way.  So this morning, my heart sank when I logged in online and saw that the wait was 16 minutes.  Aaron would love the precise time, by the way.  That would make Aaron late to arrive at Paradigm, though.  But Aaron had forgotten all about the MIGHT word as he walked with resolve out to the van.  Only 9:02 and the wait was already that long on a Monday?  Bummer!

Aaron has totally no reserve when he barges through the swinging door of Great Clips.  That’s why you would have seen me in a mad dash to grab my keys and purse as I hurriedly opened the van door, hoping to beat him to the front door.  I rarely do, and this morning was no exception.  He barreled in just inches in front of me, but being aware of this he wasted no time in hurrying as fast as he could to the front desk as he bellowed, “I need to hurry and go to Paradigm!!”

And we’re off, I thought, as I tried to regroup while the two men who were waiting and the two men who were getting haircuts just stared at unusual Aaron.  The stylist was new to us, but she smiled and walked over to the computer to see that we had signed in.  At the same time, I was correcting Aaron and giving him a little Emily Post lesson on good manners when barging into Great Clips…..all of which meant nothing to him.  He was already checking out the container of tempting ball point pens, hoping he would be able to sneak at least one of them into his waiting pocket. 

We sat down, minus the Great Clips pen, and I continued with my manners lesson.  “I was just trying to get them to hurry,” he explained.  And I continued to explain the concept of the word “rude.”  Should I include the word “shocking?”  Maybe not today.

But I WAS trying to reinforce the idea of talking softly as Aaron sat there talking in his usual loud voice.  He didn’t like that lesson, Emily Post or not, and he reached over to give me a whack on the arm.  I felt my face getting red, mostly from embarrassment, as I felt now three sets of eyes on me from the three men who sat around the waiting area.  With the lesson on not hitting and on talking softly under his belt, Aaron got up and lumbered across the room.  I just watched him with bated breath, wondering what he was going to do now.  He had spied the DumDum suckers in a glass container on the counter, so he took one and came back to his seat, where I helped him open it and in his mouth it went.

After a couple minutes, he took it out of his mouth and started talking again.  I saw his green tongue, and so I told him that his tongue was a nice green shade.  “Green?” he asked loudly as held up his sucker.  “This sucker is red!”  Ah yes, there’s that color blind factor again.  Dad would have confirmed that it was red as well, but I confirmed that it was green as Aaron stuck his tongue out for further inspection.

 
Soon the stylist called for the next customer.  “Kelly?” she called out.  And the man with the name Kelly got up and went to the salon chair.  Aaron just looked at him and then said, loudly of course, “Kelly!”  I didn’t want Aaron to say another word, not knowing what opinion he was going to give of that name or anything else that might come into his mind, so I shushed him quickly with a pat on his leg and a reminder in his ear.  The stylist who was getting Kelly ready looked over and said, “Hi, Aaron!”  She knows Aaron and her greeting surprised Aaron but made him happy, too.

Not long after, thankfully, it was Aaron’s turn and so he heard his name called.  He stood up beside me, taking his glasses off first and then his watch.  He always takes off his watch as I sit there and always tell him he doesn’t have to do that, but he always takes it off anyway.  He is oblivious to the stares of the other customers.  And the stylists always smile.  As soon as Aaron was seated, another stylist came out from the back and I heard her say, “Hi, Aaron!”  It’s so sweet how many of them know Aaron and greet him by name, with big smiles.  He IS hard to forget, that’s for sure.

Somehow, as soon as Aaron sits in the chair, he is often speechless.  The stylist asked him a question, but he remained silent, so she mostly just cut his hair and let him enjoy the experience.  We paid at the counter a few minutes later as I kept one eye on Aaron. 

 

No, Aaron, you don’t need another DumDum.  Quit trying to put it in your pocket.  Don’t you try to sneak it out of there!  Put it back!

No, Aaron, you don’t need a Great Clips pen.  You have thousands of pens at home.  Or at least it seems like it.  Do NOT put it in your pocket.  Put the pen back!

Finally, we were finished.  The stylist was paid and given a tip.  The DumDums were still in their glass container, and the pens were perched where they belonged, with none missing…..I think.  Aaron had put his glasses on and had situated his watch halfway up his arm as he always does.

We walked to the van. I was opening my door when Aaron said, loudly, “Mom!  Mom!  Look at what martial arts does!” 

And there he stood at the window of the martial arts studio in front of where we parked, pointing to the poster on the window as he made sure I noticed each martial arts move listed there. 

Just when I thought he couldn’t be any more noticeable, he proved me wrong.  I was wishing he wanted to get IN the van as quickly as he wanted to get OUT not 20 minutes earlier. 

Oh well, I just roll with the flow.  I figured my face needed a little color today anyway. 

Do you see why I wait as long between haircuts as I possibly can?