At my office, we have a chapel where I say morning prayers almost every morning. I get a little crazy around the time of tuning seasons and my vigilance fails me, and this Christmas season was no exception. I don't think I darkened the door of the chapel more than once or twice this past December. But with the new year, I rededicated myself to the practice of doing morning prayer for all the people I work with and all my friends and relatives.
When I started in this job, the Chapel was sometimes used as "overflow storage", but I went in and prayed anyway. It's a little room, out of the way, and decorated kind of nicely. It has one of the coolest chandeliers I have ever seen. It has a south facing window that collects all the sun of the day and it's really, a very pleasant, quiet place to be.
One morning, while I was praying, my manager came through to check on the progress of an organizational project he had people working on and I surprised him.
"Oh! " he said, startled to see me. "I'm so sorry. I didn't know anyone ever used this place."
"Almost every morning, "I replied.
He made a quick apology for disturbing me and then went on his way.
After that, all of the the stuff that used to get put in the chapel, stopped being piled there and one day, some plants appeared by the window: A hibiscus and a bamboo plant.
I thanked my manager for putting them there, it made the chapel seem more welcoming. He told me that actually he had forgotten about them, (they'd been moved for floor waxing) but they could stay there if I liked them. I told him that I did like them and I asked if I should water them. He said that he'd just tell the guy who waters all the plants that they were in there and he take care of them.
Over the next several months, the hibiscus plant tried to die on me several times. You see, I have a black thumb and I never remember to water the plants. Since the plants were off the beaten path, the plant-watering-guy kept forgetting about it and it began to dry out and almost died completely. But, somehow, it never quite lost all its leaves, just most of them. And while there was still green on the plant, I felt like there was still hope for its survival.
About a month ago, the hibiscus started looking a bit better (I assumed that the plant-watering-guy got it into routine) and I felt a little more hopeful for its survival. But, after two years of watching this plant, I had never, ever seen it in bloom. The chapel is in a part of the building that is not heated to the balmy sub-tropical temperature of the rest of the building (72 degrees), and frequently, I find myself shivering while I say my prayers. I was beginning to think that maybe the hibiscus never bloomed because it was too cold.
But this morning, I went in to say prayers and I found this:
One bright red bloom!
After the last couple of weeks of waiting and hoping and trying to hold on to the edge of the pit, this flower just seemed like an answer to my prayers.
Even in the midst of strife and struggle of just trying to stay alive, the cold and the loneliness of not being visited, this determined plant has re-adorned itself with joyful red blooms. It just gave me some hope.
I thought I'd share.
Photo by: Nicholas L. Fink