Estelle was a woman with a beautiful rose garden. The colors were vibrant, the petals like velvet, and the stems tall and proud. She worked in her garden every day. She never took a day off; you could find her down in the dirt on her knees 365 days a year.
There was no holiday from gardening for this devoted gardener. From mid-morning until noon, Estelle, pruned, fed, watered, and weeded her rose bushes.
Neighbors would notice a type of ritual in the way she cared for her precious plants. It was almost as if she were coddling a baby. Estelle’s lips moved with ceasing. No sound came from them, but it was clear for all to see, Estelle was in conversation with each rose.
Estelle grew older, and the time came when she could no longer tend to her garden. The leaves withered, the blooms were increasingly rare, and weeds overtook the once glorious roses. And yet, she would sit by the window mid-morning until noon and gaze lovingly at the tangled patch in her yard, which was once her beautiful garden.
Her daughter came by to visit one day and observed her mother from the street. Estelle was staring out the picture window. Her mother was not senile, yet there was a look on her face that suggested she wasn’t entirely present. And, though her mother lived alone, she was talking to somebody. Or, could it be her mother was talking to herself?
Adele let herself into the house with her key. “Hi, Mom, I’m here,” she called out. No reply. That’s not too unusual, she thought, her mother’s hearing had been declining over the years.
When Adele walked into the living room, she said, “Hello!” and still no answer. More loudly, this time, “Helloooo!!!” She walked over to her mom and tapped her lightly on the back of her right shoulder. That got her attention, and Estelle turned to her daughter with a beatific smile.
“Hello, darling,” she said. “You’ve caught me praying with my rose garden.”
Now Estelle thought it came to this – her mother was losing it. But she humored her. “Tell me more about the garden, Mom.”
“The garden is where I always went to pray. Every day, while I was able, I would spend a few hours on my knees praying to God Almighty. While I was there, I would pull out the weeds, feed the roses, and bring them some water.” It’s so easy to be with God while tending to His creation.” She continued. “And now that my kneeling days are over, I pray here, near the window, to remind me that neglect is a death sentence for beautiful things. My roses thrived from the attention. They were so beautiful – weren’t they?”
Adele wiped a tear from her eye and agreed. “Yes, Mom, your roses were beautiful, and so are you. Then she took her mother’s hand and the two of them; mother and daughter sat holding hands, gazing out the window, and praying together.
Prayer brings beauty alive.