Continued from last week…
|Photo by Bailey Photographic via Flickr|
The doorbell echoed throughout the house, emptiness echoing back to me. I swallowed, wondering if I was doing the right thing, how such daring found me. But only for a brief moment. As soon as I looked out at the flowers, both dead and thriving, I knew I was exactly where I was meant to be. I took a deep breath and turned back to the door. No one answered. I listened intently. No footsteps, no doors closing…no nothing. I pressed the doorbell a second time.
The small rectangle of glass in the door tempted me. I took a quick peek, hoping to see someone coming down the hall or the stair, maybe even old Jim himself hobbling slowly along with a cane. Instead, I found more than I ever expected. The rug in the foyer dirty and part of it crumpled up in a wad. More flowers in the entryway, drooping, yellow. Packets of white socks, one after the other, unopened, stacked, leaning to one side. A pile of dusty, dirty old shoes, their pairs not easily spotted. An unopened wrapped gift thrown beside some keys and a big cardboard box that looked to be some sort of exercise equipment, again, unopened, leaning in such a way that no one could pass through the front door even if they wanted to. The house was a mess. A shiver ran up my spine. Old Jim was in worse shape than I imagined.
I knew he wouldn’t answer. But I also knew he was there. I could feel him. When I let his presence enter me, he felt cold to the touch and tiny, distant, like a bird flying aimlessly, tens of miles away. Was that his fear? Strangely, he also felt slightly hopeful, a single red feather shining brightly on that same bird’s side. Was that an invitation?
I felt the magical intrigue a second time, as obvious to me as the shoes on my feet. My spirit perked. My smile broadened. I fine tuned my senses and seemed to taste the thread of Jim’s heart longing to be heard, to be seen, to be...touched. And right along side it, again I tasted a darkness, a distance that told me he wouldn’t ever dare open up to me, a stranger who knew nothing of his pain. Never. But still, I had to try.
I stepped out to a patch of flowers that I knew were in eyeshot of the second floor windows. I leaned down to breathe in their scents. One by one, I took them in, felt them as I had felt old Jim… alone in his messy unloved home, in his messy unloved body. And then…I started to hum. I couldn’t help it. It just happened. I called the flowers by name, talked to them as if they were friends and touched each one, admiring their petals, their leaves, their stems, and how they came up out of the ground, each one a little miracle, planted with love, Jim’s love.
And just as I was starting to really lose myself in the beauty of it all, out of the corner of my eye I saw the curtains part. Upstairs. In one of the second floor windows. He was watching me. He stood there for what seemed like a long time and just as I dared to peer back at him, he let the curtain go. It fluttered gently before it was still.
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“Did you ever know Jim, the old man that lives in the Southern Mansion up the road?” I asked another neighbor on my way home.
“Oh, yes. He used to walk by here almost every day. He always used to light up when my flowers were in bloom. If I remember correctly, I think his favorites were the peonies. He said they reminded him of the South, of where he used to live as a boy. Nice man. Very nice man. I like a man who appreciates the beauty of flowers. It’s a simple love that seems to stay the distance, don’t you think?”
“What a beautiful thing to say,” I said smiling and nodding my head, “yes, I think you’re right.”
|Photo by Tatiana12 via Flickr|
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My Wednesday Wish For You?
Connect with a heart this week, a heart that longs to be heard, seen…touched. Maybe your voice wont be heard. Maybe your words wont be wanted. But maybe your actions will be seen. And in your actions, let your own heart guide your way. For to connect with another heart, we must first connect with our own.