My devotion, God’s Little Lessons on Life for Women quoted Sherlock Holmes. Holmes said flowers were not necessary to life. They were an embellishment given to us from a compassionate God (from The Adventure of the Naval Treaty by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle).
After owning and managing a flower shop for ten years, flowers were not an embellishment to my life. They were a means to an end and represented the stress that accompanies small business ownership. I did not see beautiful blooms or notice their sweet fragrance. They represented hours of standing ankle deep in floral debris creating Something Spectacular while answering phones, taking orders, organizing deliveries and assisting walk in customers. When the holidays ended, I did not want to celebrate anything except the chance to shower and go to bed.
The last Valentine’s Day I owned the shop began in the usual way with aching back and feet, allergies running amok from too much exposure to all the pollen, and panic over cash flow. My bank balance was still short of enough funds to cover the rose shipment. Too tired to expend the extra energy to worry, I gave the issue to God.
At ten am the FedEx truck pulled up to the door and the driver pulled out box after box of flowers. My only recourse was to write a check and pray the receipts came in before the check made it to the bank.
I greeted the delivery man with what I hoped was a smile. “So, how much do you need from me today?”
“Yeah, it’s really odd. The box with the invoice got bumped because of excessive weight in the cargo hold. Usually that is the first box they load. Anyway, without the invoice I can’t take payment.”
“Well, how long before the other box shows up?”
“It was bumped only one flight, so I’d say tomorrow or the next day at the latest.”
Well within the parameters of a fresh, saleable product. I hummed songs of praise all day long, and ironically, my feet didn’t hurt as much, my back ached less and we had one of our best holidays.
The next morning the other box showed up, right along with enough deposits to cover the C.O.D - and the most pressing bills. I glowed all the way to the bank.
I have been out of the floral business for six years, and now have the benefit of hind sight. While working in the shop I was surrounded with beauty, but I saw mostly thorns. I failed to understand that the blossoms are much larger than the thorns, and if we stand in the right position – in faith and trust in Him – we won't see the thorns at all.