Hiding Under the Bush
Standing at the gate, looking eastward, Malcolm became transfixed at the beauty that opened itself before him.
He had always known that his father had a green thumb yet the sheer magnitude of the man’s labors was never realized until just this moment.
Before him lay three hundred square feet of color,which could’ve been created by a professional landscaper but was planted, cared for and loved by his father, a retired steel worker.
From the back of the house, a stone walkway led to a row of hedges that obscured the garden. Once you moved past the hedges, a white picket fence surrounded the area and a gate with a simple latch barred the way.
This was where he stood.
The perimeter was yellow Daisies with Babies Breath every three or four feet. Straight rows of flowers that he didn’t recognize filled the interior with purple and blue, orange and red. A gentle breeze whispered across the flowers making them move in the direction of the breeze and giving them the appearance of waves on the sea.
Somehow the colors blended for that instant, taking Malcolm’s breath away.
It was truly a sea of color.
With the breeze came the fresh scent of the plants. An indescribable mixture of aromas wafted through the air.
The garden was awesome!
A tingling went through his body as he stepped further into the garden. His shoes were swallowed up in the lush grass which carpeted the rows in between and around the area.
His eyes were suddenly drawn to a shock of reddish pink in the upper right-hand corner of the garden. It was just outside of the perimeter.
A small bush filled with these cup like flowers. There were so many of them. They nearly obliterated the green leaves between them. “Were they Tulips?” he wondered aloud. He feet guided him toward the bush.
There was something vaguely familiar about the bush. The closer he got to it the more he felt a recollection coming on.
He was wild in those days. Not caring whom he hurt or what others thought of him. At the height of his rebellion, his father purchased a bush from the local greenhouse which he then planted in the front yard near an old larch.
He watched his old man, in that ridiculous straw hat with the oversized brim, tenderly caring for the thing, weeding around it constantly, laying down that foul smelling fertilizer, watering it and pruning it.
One night after an argument with his mother he ran out to the front yard and ripped the bush from out of the ground and threw it into the street. There it laid being crushed by traffic until his father came home.
He had thought that his father would be furious with him. Furious enough to tell him to leave and never return, which was what he wanted. But the man never said a word!
He gently picked up the crushed and broken bush and took it to the back of the house. Malcolm assumed that he had thrown it away nothing more was ever said about it.
Now he stood face to face with the very same bush!
He could see the old white tape that his father used to repair the broken limbs. Tears began to flow from his eyes, he was much older now and wanted to tell his father how sorry he was, how much he longed to take back every hateful word.
But his father’s death made that impossible now.
He wondered if he could ever . . . had ever forgiven him. Through the tears he saw another familiar object, hiding under the bush, it was his father’s straw hat.
He bent down and picked it up and under it was an envelope with his name on it. He clutched the hat to his chest and whispered, “Ohhhh, my!” In the envelope was a letter from his father, short and to the point. “You are my Rose of Sharon son.” It read. “You may be crushed and bruised but God will always dress your wounds and plant you in a better place. I love you, Dad.”
In his spirit he heard Jesus say “I am the rose of Sharon, the lily of the valley.”
In front of the Rose of Sharon bush, Malcolm fell to his knees and allowed its spicy fragrance to comfort him.
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