A Flower’s Power

a flower's power

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

For my birthday, my husband gave me an indulgent day at the spa gift certificate, 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 up and told me how much she loved gardening and couldn’t believe the magazine had such beautiful photos (it was Fine Gardening, by the way.) 

She was a gentle woman with the softest voice I’d ever heard.

a flower's power

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 in full bloom.  

And how during the terrible storm we just had, she’d watch the tulips bend over to the point of snapping while being pounded with rain, and she would quietly pray that they  ‘hang in there.’ 

Then the winds came, and she thought they’d certainly be destroyed, yet they still survived. 

She couldn’t believe they weren’t completely decimated during the 10-day storm.

a flower's power

While telling me all about the tulips, she looked at my magazine and occasionally glanced at me (not really paying attention to polishing ‘within the lines’-ha!)  

But that was okay, the polish would chip off anyway before the day was done, and I so enjoyed seeing her happiness when telling me all about the tulips.

She then switched topics and asked if I had any children, and when I asked her the same question, she got even quieter. 

a flower's power

A year ago, she had a miscarriage, she quietly whispered, and her heart was still so heavy she couldn’t think about another baby for at least a year. 

She told me three times how much she ‘loves all babies.  All babies…’ and was so, so sad. 

I saw the obvious analogy right away.

I asked if she thought she was like those tulips in the storm, bending to the point of breaking, waiting for it to end. 

 

a flower's power

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.  

And my polish?  Forget about it – while wiping away the tears I proceeded to drag it through my hair and that was the end of that. 

When the day was done, I gave her the magazine that she couldn’t stop looking at, and left feeling so grateful to hear this woman’s story. 

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42 Comments

  • What a special story to read this Easter morning wish everyone could be compassionate and have concern for all.
    I always look forward to your posts they make my heart sing.

    Reply
    • Thank you, Susan, I’m so glad you enjoyed my little story. Your comment made MY heart sing! 🙂

      Reply
  • Rebecca, Ten years later and that story has the same effect today, probably more so because of the way we are treating these hard working people. I realize how much I took for granted that you lived so close to me in Los Altos, and the dreaded “ C “ that we both fought and won our battle. Today 04/04/2021 I am celebrating my 85th birthday. I have much to be thankful for, and you are forever in my heart for reaching out to me 6 years ago. I am still in remission. So, Rebecca this Easter morning 2021 Happy Easter and “ Until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His Hand”
    Love and Hugs, Jean Gillette.

    Reply
    • Happy Birthday, Jean, and on Easter, no less! Your comment is so touching to me, and is the best way to start this beautiful day. Thank you so much for always being so open and loving – you’re a bright life in not only my life, but so many others, I’m sure. And congratulations on being 6 years in remission – that, alone, is worth celebrating! This is my 5th year – hooray! I wish you lived near me as we would have so much fun wandering around my new garden together. It’s beautiful here this morning, quiet except for the birds (I have so many here – Canadian Geese, ducks, every type of singing sparrow, etc.) I do hope we meet again and if you’re ever in my area, won’t you please let me know? Sending you big birthday hugs xoxoxo

      Reply
  • I loved this – reading about that soft bolt of connection that often comes out of nowhere but touches all involved so deeply. I say out of nowhere but it’s really a gift from God, our Higher Power, the Universe or whatever resonates with an individual. All these are, I believe, just facets of the same force at work in our lives. It’s such a gift to all who experience it. What a wonderful birthday gift to you. I’m so glad you were open and available to receive it. You know you gave this woman insight to her path forward as she moves from loss into opening up to possibility. Thank you for sharing it.

    Reply
    • Barbara, what a perfect comment – thank you. Yes, call it what you will, it’s a gift that is probably offered to us more than we all realize, and my own personal goal is to always try and ‘see’ these gifts when they happen. In fact, I had a very similar thing happen yesterday while visiting my mother in the hospital (which I may write about at some point) and again, I was so thankful to be present to be a part of this ‘soft bolt of connection’ (a beautiful phrase, btw) that happened once again. I’m happy you enjoyed this story.

      Reply
    • 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!

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

    Thank you!

    Reply
  • 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.

    Reply
  • 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.

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

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

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

      Reply
  • 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

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

      Reply
  • 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

    Reply
  • 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 🙂

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

      Reply
  • 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.

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

    A belated Happy Birthday

    Reply
  • 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…
    XOXO!!!

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

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

    Reply
  • 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!

    Reply
    • 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… 😉

      Reply
  • 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.

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

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

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

      Reply

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