"The fragrance of the rose lingers upon the hand that cast it."
My mother was the embodiment of loving kindness and compassion. She simply lived her philosophy by daily application of it. She gave to others through her nursing skills healing veterans and, later in her career, providing tender care to children in the hospital; to her family she gave unstintingly of her time, attention and wisdom in both ordinary and amazing ways; helping friends, neighbors and even the occasional stranger with a cheerful, generous heart was her trademark. Mom used to say she never met a stranger, meaning that strangers became friends.
One of her favorite pastimes was sharing roses from her garden. This became a bonding language of love between us, as each mother's day I would buy and plant new rosebush in her yard. This simple pleasure brought joy to both of us, and by extension to others.
My Mom gave in tangible ways. She drove a sick friend to a doctor's appointment, took a pie or casserole, books & magazines to shut-ins, prepared meals for her family -- yes, this was back in the day when families actually ate most of their meals together, sitting down around a table with food, drink and conversation. It saddens me to think that so many of the younger generation have no concept of this experience.
One of my fondest memories is coming home after school to be enfolded in that wonderful aroma of freshly baked bread, and treated to a still-warm-from-the-oven slice of motherly love!
I was truly blessed this week to meet a lovely new friend and experience an immediate heart connection. We spent several hours pouring out our stories, many centered around our mothers, and felt a soul-deep sharing in perfect trust and understanding -- recognizing a kindred spirit in each other. A stranger became a friend through the alchemy of love and sharing. What a joy this is and how rare! Instead, we tend to rush through our lives in such a flurry of work, worry and demands, that we make a living, but often forget the importance of making a Life. Had I been completely focused on the everyday grind, I would have missed this extraordinary gift!
So, on this birthday, I remember the special, unique blessings of life--the ones that cannot be found in any store, or even online :) I bask in the warmth of shared moments of extraordinary love, friendship and connection and cherish them for the treasure they are. I can see my mother, picking a perfect rose from her garden to take to someone who needed a bit of cheering up, and know that the fragrance of that rose lingered on her giving hand, as the joy of her love lingers in my soul. Today, I will pick a perfect rose from my garden and follow my mother's example. That will make the happiest of birthdays!