I never knew her name was Stellata. It’s beautiful, just like … her.
Few children were as fortunate as I to have had their very own storyteller.
Yet my heart was grieved, for disease had a hold of her now and she was wasting away – and I couldn’t help her. It’s what happened sometimes in life. She was not afraid, for she knew she would live on.
It began one morning during a tumultuous row my parents were having, and I ran out to the backyard to escape the fear I felt closing in on me.
She beckoned me with opened arms and I climbed in – and oh, the sweet relief! She rocked me and soothed me with tales of the east winds as they brushed by my cheeks and lifted long tangled hair off a sweaty neck – it always got sweaty when I tried not to cry. And I imagined the places these east winds were going and whom they would touch next. I longed to be carried away to far away lands where other children played on warm sandy beaches along the deep blue sea. Just like on T.V.
When I needed refuge, she would raise me high above the turmoil below, whispering her calm encouragement, always reminding me,
‘Reach up! Look up! What do you see?’
“The sky.” I would answer.
‘And ….?’, she insisted.
‘Continue on …’
I soon understood to reach beyond my circumstances; to look beyond the dark clouds – God was always there even if I couldn’t see Him.
Her quiet ways provided the solace I needed from a world gone wrong. Her arms became Sanctuary; her stories became the balm to my wounds.
When the time came for Northern winds to blast their winter chill, I felt uneasy about her crimson crown being swooped away leaving her regal valor exposed. But she remained undaunted. It wasn’t long before she was a beauty once again, full of life and reaching farther than before. She loved to stretch as far as she could, motioning to me to do the same – challenging me on to higher sights; always with the quiet prodding of, ‘You can do it!’
Many shared her home, an example to a heart that sought protection from pain and disappointment. A heart that wanted to shut down and close in on itself. But she would have none of that! She would draw my attention to the helpless and ask,
‘What would happen if I turned away all those who needed shelter and food? Our lives touched others – for better or worse.’
So I would sneak what I could, to help the little ones as I listened and enjoyed their chatter – amused by their company. They too, found comfort … and sanctuary.
It didn’t matter to her if it rained, hailed or fierce winds blew, she’d snap right back with a vengeance – stronger and more determined to survive. And I knew I could do the same.
Her stories were legendary of how life had left her broken sometimes, stripped of her beauty, longing from thirst, and in need of reprieve from the heat or the bitter cold. I would absorb them all as I leaned into the crook of her neck – her strength, taking root in my heart.
Each year left a mark in her soul, and a hope in mine. Her solid dignity blossomed in magnificent glory as she continued to reach for her destiny. Nothing could stop her – until now.
Disease had a hold of her now, and she was wasting away – and I couldn’t help her. It’s what happened sometimes in life. She was not afraid, for she knew she would live on.
Her children, no doubt, were carrying on her legacy of comfort and strength in the far away lands I used to dream of in her arms.
And through her offspring, my own children will come to know her. They will experience the same enduring qualities her Creator bestowed upon her family the first time He spoke them into their Magnificent and Glorious existence …,
My Storyteller… my Solace … my Sanctuary … my Stellata.
*The Stellata is a member of the White Oak family known as the Post Oak. It’s also known for it’s solid strength and it’s ability to survive in rough terrains. Its large glossy green leaves are in the shape of the Greek Orthodox Crucifix.