Our words, and our actions, can truly affect someone else – greater than we can ever imagine. They can actually change someone’s life, and we may never have any idea of the impact we have made.
For me, that person was my father. You see, I grew up on the south side of Chicago in a very small house. In fact, we had two tiny bedrooms for six people, so it was a bit tight. The outside of our home was equally as small, but my father had a green thumb and he could make anything grow.
We had flowers everywhere! Miraculously, somehow, my father had every square inch of dirt bursting with color.
There were bright yellow marigolds, flaming red geraniums, and deep purple rooster cones.
But the best, the very best, were the roses. My father had two beautiful rose bushes that grew up a trellis and leaned against our brick garage. What a contrast! The hard, cold brick framing the soft, delicate roses.
Every spring, when the first rose bloomed, my father would gently cut it off the vine and put it in a very plain ordinary glass. He put it in the middle of our kitchen table, and with his very best handwriting, he would scribble a note that said “For My Princess”.
That was me!!!
When I walked in the door, there it was, a rose as beautiful as anything I had ever seen, welcoming me home from school. I can’t begin to tell you how special it made me feel.
My father would repeat this same ceremony in the fall, with the last rose of the garden.
I received that first and last rose of the season from my father, with his precious note “For My Princess”, until I left for college.
My father passed away over 25 years ago. At his wake, I placed two roses on the pillow where his head rested – one for the first rose and one for the last rose in his garden.
Although the roses have stopped, that memory has stayed with me for a lifetime, without fading. Most importantly, it has helped me through some very difficult times. Times when major changes in my life shook me to the core and changed my life forever. Times when I just wanted to curl up and die because I felt worthless.
Then suddenly, without expecting it, I would see a rose. Maybe I walked through the fresh flower section of my local grocery store, or maybe I strolled past a neighborhood park. Seeing those beautiful roses would open a floodgate of such loving memories. Suddenly, I would find myself standing a little taller, lifting my head a little higher, and smiling. And I realized, I can’t be worthless – after all, I am a princess.
I never told my father how he made me feel. He had no idea how, years later, those roses would still affect my life. Heck, I don’t think I even realized it myself. I would like to have a chance to tell him now if I could. But since I can’t, the next best thing I can do is pass it on to you.
You never know what people will remember. So, now I try to take every opportunity to be kind, to open myself up, and to be vulnerable. It doesn’t have to be big. It could be as simple as saying “thanks for being my friend.”
Who has made an impact on your life? I’d love to hear your story.