Monday, May 19, 2008

My 100th Post: A Bouquet of Blessings


bouquet


The highlight for the ballerinas in Saturday evening's recital came at the end of the night when each girl had her moment in the spotlight. From oldest to youngest, every dancer in the show had her own curtain call. Cheers erupted from the crowd as each girl emerged from backstage when her name was called. As show tunes played, one by one the ballerinas glided across the stage to accept a medal from their teacher. Then they stepped to the foot of the stage to face the packed house. As the audience applauded, each girl was met at the end of the stage by a family member who gave her a bouquet of flowers as she curtsied.

This year was our first experience with ballet, so this tradition was new to us. At our morning dress rehearsal the teacher urged all the parents to bring flowers, and hours before the show a family friend with an older daughter called to remind us that it was really important to bring flowers. Joe had already bought a bouquet of pretty cream-colored roses for Mary Ashley, and that afternoon I wrapped them in tissue paper and finished off the bouquet with a fluffy pink bow. I felt a lump in my throat when Mary Ashley's name was called, and my eyes filled with tears as she accepted flowers and a kiss from her daddy.

Before the finale, I had slipped to the side of the auditorium so I could take pictures. From my vantage point near the stage, I could see the sweet moments unfolding between the girls and their families. Moms and dads beamed with pride as they hugged their daughters tight, whispering words of encouragement as they reached up to give them their bouquets.

But the sweetest moment I witnessed came near the show's end. The stage was nearly full, and rows of giggling girls sat examining their flowers. For many of the littlest ones, this was the first time they had ever been given a bouquet all their own. Since the girls were called oldest to youngest, most of the names had already been announced when one of the last 4-year-olds was called. The little ballerina had danced her heart out, and she bounded across the stage to accept her medal with glee.

She smiled as she stepped to the foot of the stage, eager to accept her flowers. But no one came. The little girl just stood there, waiting for seconds that seemed to span an eternity. The applause died down, and people shifted uneasily in their seats. Heads turned and eyes scanned the crowd, looking for parents or grandparents struggling to make their way down the aisle. But still no one came. The little girl stood frozen at the edge of the stage, peering into the crowd, waiting.

Finally realizing that no one was coming, the ballet teacher slipped offstage to get a long-stemmed rose for the little girl. But just as she returned, a young man approached the stage with a pretty bouquet of pink tulips in his hand. "Good job," he mouthed with a smile as he handed the flowers to the tiny ballerina. She accepted the bouquet, then skipped to the back of the stage to find her place with the rest of her class. She looked content as she sat with her friends through the end of the show, proudly clutching her tulips.

I was so touched by the interaction between this man and child because it was clear that the two had never met. The color of their skin was different, and she was not his daughter, but in her moment of need this man was willing to step in to fill the role of Daddy. And in giving her a handful of flowers, he offered this tiny ballerina a bouquet of blessings. His actions said, You're special, I'm proud of you, and you can do great things.

"Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another," 1 John 4:11-12 urges us. "No one has beheld God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us" (NASB). We must be willing to offer the kindnesses those around us need. Our words of praise may encourage a neglected child to grow. Acts of friendship may give hope to a lonely, struggling soul. And our steady presence and prayers may soothe a wounded heart. As we look for opportunities to show love to one another, on occasion we will be called to step in as mother, daddy, sister or brother. But with God's help, when we see someone on the edge, waiting, we can extend our hands in love. And stepping out in faith, we can help lead this soul to our Father, who offers His children bouquets of blessings that will last for all time.

"Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and abiding word of God. For, 'All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls off, But the word of the Lord abides forever.' " (1 Peter 1:22-25).

58 comments:

Anonymous said...

Melissa,
This is the sweetest story...thanks for sharing..And being a parent who has forgotten flowers after a play that my girls were in ...I feel for the parents and the child..however, I would have at the very least given my child a hug and tearfully explained to her that I forgot her flowers but would get her some as soon as we left. How sad!
Jennifer (Jones employee)

Melissa Lester said...

Jennifer, I totally understand, and don't judge the parents at all for forgetting the flowers. I could easily have been in the same position. It was just a sad situation for only one child not to get flowers, and it was made even more uncomfortable by the fact that she didn't understand and just kept waiting. And no family member came to the stage to even give her a hug or word of praise. When she was so delighted to get flowers from a stranger, it just made me think about the difference we can make if we are willing to step out in faith. And thanks to God for the people who give us a bouquet when we need it!

Rebecca said...

I need to learn to not read your blog while I am at work. I have to explain to others why I am crying. That was a wonderful post!

sweeter and the bubbas said...

Congratulations on 100 posts...I can't believe your already there! You are a great story teller. This story was so sad, but what a happy ending. I too teared up. Poor sweet little girl. I wish all children were loved equally(I'm not saying she wasn't). Thanks! :-)

Leah said...

I agree with Allison, you always have me on the edge of my chair. This is such a bittersweet story...I'm crying!

Joanne Kennedy said...

This story touched my heart. It is kindness from strangers that are often the most touching to all involved.

I do think it was so sad that no one came up to even hug the little girl and tell her she did a wonderful job.

As a child I remember being the only one at a school show where my parents didn't even come to see me sing. That's what this story reminded me of.

Thankfully that man had a heart of gold and reached out to her in her moment of need.

Joanne

Nancy Hood said...

Angels come in many colors, shapes and forms, don't they :)

Becky Welch said...

What a wonderful story. You have such a gift! Thanks so much for sharing and touching so many lives!

Karol said...

That was truely beautiful. I love when you see Him in action.

Heather said...

Oh, such a sweet story - I'm all teary-eyed now. Thanks for sharing!

Rhea said...

God bless men like him for stepping up and caring. Wish there were MORE stories like this one on the Internet and in the Blogosphere. Fabulous!

Marla said...

That was such a sweet story, thanks for sharing.

Congrats on being FB on SITS!

Melissa said...

Very sweet story. Her poor parents, don't you know they were mortified! What a good man to step up so this little girl wouldn't feel forgotten.

Elizabeth said...

What a lovely story; and how great that you got to see it for yourself!

Creative Junkie said...

oh wow - that is such a sweet story. Perfect way to start off my Monday!

Hot Tub Lizzy said...

That one REALLY needs a tissue warning!!!

CanCan said...

What a bittersweet kind of story. I hope that little girl knew that she was special that night, too! Thank goodness that man had extra flowers!

Vicki said...

What a sweet story, and a great life lesson. I'm in awe of people who can see the lessons God is trying to teach us in the everyday events of our lives. I need to be more attentive!

Shanda said...

I think this story has touched me more than anything I've read in a while. My husband died five years ago. Events like these are always bittersweet. And men like the man in the story are my heroes. Men who will step up.

Ren said...

Such a beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharing it! I hope you have a Happy SITS Day!

Jennifer P. said...

I loved this story. You have such an ability for picking the silver lining out of a cloud :)!

Hope you love ever moment of the SITS day comment loving!

deconstructing jen said...

That is such a beautiful post. I'm so glad to hear that someone had the courage to step up and do that.

Tracy P. said...

Whew, I'm with Lizzy! Beautiful story. What a vivid picture to envision God at the end of our stage, where we feel both exhilarated and vulnerable, possibly even alone, extending His arms with flowers and a hug. Even if we fell or lost count for a minute. Lovely!

Jenni said...

That was such a sweet story. I love seeing people doing nice things for strangers. It doesn't happen enough, but it still happens and it always makes me smile and reminds me to do the same.

Ronnica said...

Oh, wow, I definitely cried at this one. Slightly awkward, since I'm at work, but I needed to read this. What a wonderful picture of God's love for us and how we can show that love to others.

thotlady said...

I have always believed that people are inherantly good. Hold and pass on that thot.

Great post!

Becky :) said...

What a sweet and endearing story. We need more people like that gentleman. He certainly made a little girls night and showed everyone else what something kind can do to someones soul. Thanks for sharing.

Congrats on your SITS day!!!

Live.Love.Eat said...

My gosh. The tears are welling up. I wonder if the parents were in the bathroom or something. I would rather think that.

-Bridget said...

This post made me cry happy and sad tears. That doesn't happen often.

Melanie said...

Wow so sweet. Awesome post.

Jenni @ nest to keep said...

You are a great storyteller...just when I thought this story couldn't have a happy ending, everything changed. Life is like that a lot! :)

The little girl will never, ever forget what that kind man did for her! :)

Congratulations on your special SITS day! :)

Melodie said...

What a wonderful man to be so kind to that poor little girl! It just warms the heart.

Tabitha Blue said...

Now I'm crying, but thanks for sharing such a touching story.

Be-Frazzled Mom said...

I am so glad that someone was there to make that little girl feel special. That was a touching story.

EmmaP said...

ok...tissue please??? my heart ached for that precious little ballerina. Nice post...loved it.

nikkicrumpet said...

UGGGH now my nose is running and my mascara is gonna need a touch up. Sometimes mankind can be so kind.

Party of 5 said...

OH I was so sad for that little girl. I am so glad that kind man was there for her.

Tiffany said...

What a wonderful moment. Thanks for sharing... I am all teared up!

Z's Mom said...

Oh, I teared up at at this story as well. Thank God for that man stepping up! How sweet!

trashalou said...

Oh my! I have tears now. Great story and you are lucky to have witnessed that.

wendy said...

I have tears in my eyes (and a stuffy nose that is now stuffier!). What a beautiful moment.

Inspired Kara said...

What a great reminder to us of God's grace today. I feel like that little girl a lot when I get a boquet of blessings from God in the moments I feel all alone.

Hairline Fracture said...

This brought tears to my eyes. That young man showed real love to that sweet little girl.

verygoodyear said...

That truly is a sweet story and a really kind gesture :]

leezee52 said...

Wow...I'm not a Christian but this is a lesson for all religions.

Lee :)

Melissa said...

What a sweet story, it brought tears to my eyes. It warms my heart when I hear stories of kindness in our world. Thank you!

Mindy said...

What a beautiful story and you made such a wonderful conclusion to it.

Felicia Eis said...

Thank you for sharing that story. It made me cry. I love your site because you have been sharing all the things that I would like to with mine.

Andie said...

That is absolutely beautiful! Thank you for sharing a wonderful thought with us.

mrsbear said...

Thank you for sharing that. What a powerful moment to witness.

Michelle said...

That is SO sweet (not that you haven't heard that before), and yep I had the tears welling up in my eyes, too. I'll most definitely be bringing an extra bouquet with me whenever I have a situation like this!

Karen said...

What a wonderful story. I'm so glad that someone was there for her...

Mekhismom said...

I am so glad that there was someone there to step in. As we know God provides and what a beautiful example of this/

mrsmouthy said...

I'm always just skimming people's blogs for a quick laugh, and if it's not funny I ain't reading it. But this post is so beautiful I read it twice...and plan to keep reading more of your beautiful reflections. Thank you for broadening my horizons!

Rela Pantaleon-Manigsaca said...

In a certain point in my Christian walk, I didn't look forward to occasions when my conscience is piqued to action. Today, however, I have come to learn that it is part of loving my neighbor and I welcome them.

Cracker Scraps said...

Yes, what a wonderful demonstration of Christian love!

I remember attending my DD's first school play. I looked around the audience noticing flowers in the laps of many people! I quickly sent DH to get some flowers at the nearby grocery store.

Now it's flowers for ever occasion including the biggest $50.00 boquet that I bought her for her nurses pinnin! Yes, I am a nurse too and got to pin her myself!

Jules said...

This was a beautiful post. And thank goodness there are guys like that out there!

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Oh, Melissa, I have this ache in my heart for that little girl and a big hug for that man who gave her the flowers! Thank you for telling us this story. This is a reminder to always bring extra just "in case." I try to remember to do that for everything from party favors to events like this. I hate that anyone, particularly a child, would feel left out. This is the most beautiful of reminders, Melissa, as only you can tell it! It's also a reminder that the Lord never forgets us and is always there for us, and for that, I'm eternally grateful.

Thanks for sharing...

XO,

Sheila :-)

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