Tuesday, May 12, 2009
~~ MAGNOLIAS ~~
written by..........By Edna Ellison (Sent to me by my dear friend Ann Williams)
I spent the week before my daughter's June wedding running last-minute
trips to the caterer, florist, tuxedo shop, and the church about forty
As happy as I was that Patsy was marrying a good Christian young man,
I felt laden with responsibilities as I watched my budget dwindle . .
So many details, so many bills, and so little time. My son Jack was
away at college, but he said he would be there to walk his younger sister
down the aisle, taking the place of his dad who had died a few years
before. He teased Patsy, saying he'd wanted to give her away since she
was about three years old!
To save money, I gathered blossoms from several friends who had large
magnolia trees. Their luscious, creamy-white blooms and slick green
leaves would make beautiful arrangements against the rich dark wood
inside the church.
After the rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding, we banked
the podium area and choir loft with magnolias. As we left just before
midnight, I felt tired but satisfied this would be the best wedding
any bride had ever had! The music, the ceremony, the reception - and
especially the flowers - would be remembered for years.
The big day arrived - the busiest day of my life - and while her
bridesmaids helped Patsy to dress, her fiance Tim walked with me to
the sanctuary to do a final check. When we opened the door and felt a rush
of hot air, I almost fainted; and then I saw them - all the beautiful
white flowers were black. Funeral black. An electrical storm during the
night had knocked out the air conditioning system, and on that hot
summer day, the flowers had wilted and died.
I panicked, knowing I didn't have time to drive back to our hometown,
gather more flowers, and return in time for the wedding.
Tim turned to me. 'Edna, can you get more flowers? I'll throw away
these dead ones and put fresh flowers in these arrangements.'
I mumbled, 'Sure,' as he be-bopped down the hallto put on his cuff
Alone in the large sanctuary, I looked up at the dark wooden beams in
the arched ceiling. 'Lord,' I prayed, 'please help me. I don't know anyone
in this town. Help me find someone willing to give me flowers - in a
I scurried out praying for four things: the blessing of white
magnolias, courage to find them in an unfamiliar yard, safety from any dog that
may bite my leg, and a nice person who would not get out a shotgun when I
asked to cut his tree to shreds.
As I left the church, I saw magnolia trees in the distance.. I
approached a house...No dog in sight. I knocked on the door and an
older man answered. So far so good. No shotgun.
When I stated my plea the man beamed, 'I'd be happy to!'
He climbed a stepladder and cut large boughs and handed them down to
Minutes later, as I lifted the last armload into my car trunk, I said,
'Sir, you've made the mother of a bride happy today.'
'No, Ma'am,' he said. 'You don't understand what's happening here.
'What?' I asked.
'You see, my wife of sixty-seven years died . I
received friends at the funeral home, and ....' He
paused. I saw tears welling up in his eyes. 'On Wednesday I buried her.' He
looked away. ' most of my out-of-town relatives went back
home, and - yesterday - my children left.'
'This morning,' he continued, 'I was sitting in my den crying out
loud. I miss her so much. For the last sixteen years, as her health got
worse, she needed me. But now nobody needs me. This morning I cried, 'Who
needs an eighty-six-year-old wore-out man? Nobody!' I began to cry
louder. 'Nobody needs me!'
About that time, you knocked, and said, 'Sir, I need you.' I stood
with my mouth open.
He asked, 'Are you an angel? The way the light shone around your head
into my dark living room...'
I assured him I was no angel.
He smiled. 'Do you know what I was thinking when I handed you those
'I decided I'm needed. My flowers are needed. Why, I might have a
flower ministry! I could give them to everyone! Some caskets at the funeral
home have no flowers. People need flowers at times like that and I
have lots of them. They're all over the backyard! I can give them to
hospitals, churches - all sorts of places. You know what I'm going to
do? I'm going to serve the Lord until the day He calls me home!'
I drove back to the church, filled with wonder. On Patsy's wedding
day, if anyone had asked me to encourage someone who was hurting, I would
have said, 'Forget it! It's my only daughter's wedding, for goodness'
sake! There is no way I can minister to anyone today.'
But God found a way. Through .
'Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way
you cope with it is what makes the difference.'
If you have missed knowing me, you have missed nothing. If you have
missed some of my emails, you may have missed a laugh.
But, if you have missed knowing God, you
have missed everything in the world.