A flower’s power…

I had both the world’s worst and the world’s best manicure yesterday.

For my birthday, my husband bought me a luxurious ‘spa day’, complete with a facial, massage, lunch and a mani/pedi.  I didn’t really want the manicure because, let’s face it, for us gardeners a manicure lasts about as long as a daylily’s bloom. But I couldn’t turn it down, so off I went.

I brought along a gardening magazine, and the young Vietnamese woman who was doing my nails couldn’t stop craning her neck to see the pictures.  She finally spoke and told me how much she loved gardening, and what beautiful pictures the magazine had. She was a gentle woman with the softest voice I’d ever heard.

In her barely audible voice, heavy with a Vietnamese accent, she then told me how she loved looking out the salon’s window at the bed of tulips that were in full bloom.   And how during the terrible storm we had, she’d watch them bend over to the point of snapping, heavy with rain, and would quietly pray that they  ‘hang in there’.  Then the winds came, and she thought they’d surely be destroyed, yet they still ‘hung in there’.  She couldn’t believe they survived the 10-day storm without any damage whatsoever.

While telling me all about the tulips, she was looking at my magazine, and would occasionally glance up at me, not really paying attention to polishing ‘within the lines’.  But that was okay, as I loved seeing her lose herself for just a bit, telling me all about the tulips.

She then asked me if I had any children, and when I asked her the same question, she got even quieter.  A year ago she had a miscarriage, she quietly whispered, and her heart is still so heavy she can’t think about another for at least a year.  She told me three times how much she ‘loves all babies.  All babies…’ and was so, so sad.  As if my manicure wasn’t messed up enough, as soon as I wiped away my tears, my hair dragged through my thumbnail leaving streaks throughout the polish.

I saw the obvious analogy right away.

I asked her if she thought she was like those tulips in the storm, bending to the point of breaking, waiting for it to end.  By now the tears were freely flowing as we tried our best not to let the other women in the nearby chairs see this tender moment.

As I left, I gave her the magazine that she couldn’t stop looking at and felt so grateful to hear this woman’s story.  I’m constantly touched at how deeply personal flowers can be to people.  Even people without gardens, a flower can touch the soul.


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    • Hi Sharon – yes, it was my birthday a few weeks ago! And your Dirty Hands Club packet arrived just in time (like you KNEW it was my b-day or something….). Hooray for me!

  • Powerful, vulnerable, insightful, heartfelt, authentic, respectful, gentle, empathetic, wise, generous . . . And those are just the first few adjectives that come to mind.

    Thank you!

    • What wonderful adjectives, David. Thank you so much!

  • This is the last post I’ll read before starting to work – with a lump in my throat. I’ll remember to look outside and think of those stems, bowed but not breaking.

    • Hope you had a good day today, Helen. 🙂

    • Ah yes, Janine. It all comes round, doesn’t it!

  • How perfect that you two were put together for those moments, and that you gave her the magazine. I believe it will lift her spirits when she looks at the photos, and she will probably look at it often.

    • I also hope that magazine continues to lift her spirits…

  • There are no coincidences in the world. You were there for a manicure and got so much more. Great story.

    • Like you, Layanee, I believe there are no true coincidences and was glad to have been the person chosen to hear her story.

  • I do believe that was your best post ever. So lovely and touching. I can just see you talking to her. I pray God sends her another sweet baby soon to love.~~Dee

    • Thank you, Dee. I share your prayer and hope a baby is delivered to her soon.

  • Rebecca: It’s always amazing to see this innate connection we all have with flowers and plants. I’m sure your manicurist was as moved by the experience as you. Thanks so much for sharing this story. I agree with the others, you really are Sweet Rebecca. Happy birthday! Teresa

  • Rebecca, Thank you for sharing your story. These are the moments that deine our lives. Listening, loving and sharing compassion with one another even if your nails turned out bad 🙂

    • You’re welcome Theodora! And you’re right – who cares about the nails anyway!!

    • Thanks Jan, Kim and Lisa – so glad you liked the story!

  • Hi dear friend. What touches me the most about this beautiful story is how you were a bridge for her…you were there and available and helped her heal just a little bit more. Most people would want to be left alone to enjoy their quiet time and feel like it was an intrusion. You are such a beautiful soul…you just let her share your “special” time. Happy Birthday and thank you for sharing all your gifts.

  • What a beautiful shared experience….both heartbreaking and heartwarming.

    A belated Happy Birthday

  • Oh, Dear Sweet One – this makes my heart squeeze. It was also you and your openness and compassion that allowed this woman to share with you. You are a flower, to so many of us.

    Thanks for this great story…

    • Awww…thanks Ivette! I’ve been called a prickly cactus before, but never a flower! 😉

  • Beautiful…glad you were present in the moment and recognized her need…she won’t forget you or those tulips.

  • Beautifully told Rebecca. Being observant and in participation with nature is, in my humble opinion the closest we can get to being one with the universe. Clearly, you were in the right place at the right moment. I’m certain that she will never forget you either. Thank you for sharing your story!

    • Thanks Christina, Cat & Maureen – I’m so glad you liked this story as much as I did. My heart just went OUT to this sad woman!! Gotta go now and re-do my nails… 😉

  • There are moments in time that are just meant to be… this was one. Total strangers, you gave each other the gift of understanding, the best birthday present of all. Thank you, Rebecca, for sharing this heart warming story.

    • Beautifully said, Sheila. I agree – this was definitely one of those amazing moments!

    • Thanks Curbstone! Glad you liked the story and thanks for the birthday wishes!!

    • Hi Greenwords! Glad to see you & hope all is well. Thanks for stopping by!

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