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You Never Know

27 May

Some years ago I had a neighbor who loved her flower garden. She found great pleasure in planting lovely flowers around her home, and was always scouring the greenhouses for something new. One year, she had three children in college, and her budget was very tight. She told me she couldn’t afford to buy anything new for a while, including flowers, which was disappointing. But she said she would be fine because her garden was full and beautiful already, and it was.

One day I saw her sitting on her front porch, and walked over to say hello. She told me she had just returned from the store and had seen some gorgeous, double blossom, red hollyhocks she just adored. “I wanted them so badly,” she told me, “but I just can’t spend the extra money right now. When every penny counts you have to count every penny. It was so hard to walk away! They were so beautiful!” She laughed at how much she wanted the new flowers, and we sat and chatted for a while.

Later that summer I saw her in her yard tending her lovely garden, and I walked over to see her. She was on her hands and knees weeding, so I joined her, and together we began cleaning out her flower bed. I saw a thick, green stalk growing out of the soil and wasn’t sure if it was a weed or not, so I asked her about it. She looked at it, pondered for a moment, and said, “I don’t know what it is. It looks like celery.” I thought, “Celery? Does that grow wild?” Since we weren’t sure what it was, we decided to let it grow, and see what happened.

A couple of weeks later, my neighbor appeared at my door all excited. “You have to come and see!” she exclaimed. I had no idea what the excitement was all about but she grabbed my arm and pulled me along until I was in her yard. When we got there she pointed at her flower bed and the “wild celery” we had let grow. There before my eyes was a tall hollyhock stem with bright red buds all over it. “How did that happen?” I asked her. “I don’t know,” she said. “I just came out to do some weeding and there it was. It’s a double blossom, red hollyhock! Just like the one I couldn’t buy at the store!” I stood there staring at the plant, in wonderment. We laughed, and she said she figured it got there from seeds blown by the wind, or maybe bird droppings had planted it for her. Whatever brought it, she was beyond delighted.

As time went by, that one hollyhock became a whole flowerbed full of gorgeous red blooms. Every time I passed her house and saw them I thought about how they just appeared out of nowhere, and to someone who wanted them so badly. She lovingly tended them, and gleefully told the story of how she got them again and again.

We never know what will come to us in this life. Every day brings surprises of one sort or another. Some surprises are difficult, but some are wonderful, like my friend’s hollyhocks. Every day has potential for something new to come to us. Today, look for a surprise that may come your way. It may be quiet, so you’ll have to listen, and it may be small, so you’ll have to watch. But there will probably be something surprising for you if you just take the time to notice. This life is a wonderful gift. Every day is a blessing. And perhaps the best surprise of all is that we get to have another day to enjoy it!