The flowers are blooming again this year. I know how you love them so. Thank you for always taking the time to stop and admire them and for teaching me to do the same. I can still see your weathered, calloused, hands, slightly shaking, as they reached out to carefully cup the soft petals of a rose in bloom. I can still see the smile on your face as you bent your leather-brown cheek down to drink in the softness and fragrance. They were the tough, work-worn and weary hands of an Applachian coal miner, and yet still sensitive, patient, and wise enough to teach me to truly see the beauty that nature had to offer. Was it your Native American ancestry that made you so able to appreciate the earth an all its wonders or was it your strong Christian faith that made you realize that God is at work in everthing around us?
That first year after you left us was so very difficult, Daddy. I didn't want to see the flowers bloom. I didn't think it was fair that the world could go on without your being here. But it did go on. The blooms exploded with color that year and I was angry. They were here but you were not. I was so sad, Daddy. I couldn't sleep. Every song that I heard made me cry. I thought I would never smile again. But the flowers...they kept coming. Year after year. Right on time they would show up, bloom upon bloom. Gradually, I once more welcomed their coming. Gradually, I allowed God to show me that life, like our flowers, is supposed to go on. Gradually.,the flowers began to remind me of your life -- and not of my loss. Eventually I found myself thinking of every new bloom as a smile from you because I could remember how happy you always were to see them.
The flowers are blooming again, Daddy. The world is once again renewing itself. God's handiwork is painting our Applachian hillsides with brushstrokes only He could make. The pink azaleas, the purple rhododendrons, the round fluffy dahliahs, the delicate petals of the wild rose, the tall proud irises -- they're all here again. Life renewed. Straining toward the sun and heaven, they testify to our Creator with their quiet, colorful wisdom. And in doing so, they remind me of a lesson taught by you through the way you lived -- that our God will not forsake us and will always be there to take care of us. Now, each time I see a bright, radiant bloom, I feel your smile upon me. And each time the breeze rustles the stems in the wind, I hear you whisper to me. I'm so glad that I learned to smile again. And, I'm smiling today because the flowers are blooming again, Daddy -- and once more, you are right here with me.
Matthew 6:28-29 "And why take you thought for raiment. Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow, how they toil not, neither do they spin, and yet i say unto you, not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed like one of these."
Note: Photograph above is copyright gencoleman2010; sketch above was done by Geneva Coleman and is copyright gencoleman2010. Neither may be used without permission.