She lowered herself into one of the chairs and looked around. Her face reflected neither joy nor sorrow. However her eyes were a kaleidoscope of emotions. And the one that stood out the most was of utter desolation.
" Kiran." She heard her name and turned.
" Oh ! Mira. I'm so glad you're here," she said to her friend, and reached out and took her hand.
" How am I going to make it ?" It was almost a whisper.
" I know it's going to be very different from anything you've experienced and terribly hard for you, my dear. But Kiran, there is no other option. You have to accept this. I'm sure this is a part of God's plan for you."
" What can I do for God or anybody else over here ? Look around you Mira -- They're all zombies. They aren't living." Kiran's voice had risen and there was panic writ all over her face. Mira looked at a few old people sitting lifelessly in the lounge. Oh God ! she thought, Kiran is right. It's so depressing here.
Right then a nun walked in. " You must be Kiran," she said taking Kiran's hands in hers. " Welcome to Little Flower Senior Citizens' Home."
After that everything moved so quickly. Mira was hugging her and crying. Kiran had a lump in her throat. She couldn't speak and just nodded her head in acquiescence as Mira urged her, to settle down and see the bright side of the situation.
The situation was a dark cloud with no silver lining. As a single parent with two boys, she had worked very hard to put them through school and college. Her jewellery and house were also sold. Then, she retired and came to live with her children, for she had nowhere else to go.
Life was good. She kept home for them; cooked and supervised the domestic help; bought gifts on birthdays and anniversaries; lent them money and never got it back. She even put in some money to share the monthly expenses. It was a nice, happy joint-family. Sons, daughters-in-law, mother and a golden retriever -- all living amicably under one roof.
Then her money ran out. She fell ill. Happiness flew out of the window as strife marched through the door. The sons began squabbling over who would bear their mother's expenses. Finally it was decided arbitrarily between the brothers, to send her to a Home.
As the days passed, Kiran sank deeper into a deep, dark abyss. She was listless and tired most of the time. One day she absentmindedly flicked the pages of the Bible lying in her room. She began reading verses selected randomly - Proverbs 31 : 10 - 25. She read it over and over again. First with bitterness and anger. She had been that ' capable wife.' Then slowly the words began to sink in. Especially verse 16 -" she looks at land......she plants a vineyard " and verse 25 -" She is strong and respected and not afraid of the future. " It ignited a spark in her heart.
Early the next day Kiran was in Sister Annette's office, explaining why she wanted an untended piece of land. As it so happened, Sister had exactly what Kiran wanted -- land, gardening tools and a young ' helping hand ' called Mahesh.
All of a sudden there was purpose in Kiran's life. She could be seen working with Mahesh, and all the while laughing and talking to him. Before long inmates got curious and came to see what the hubbub was all about. Some even volunteered and Kiran welcomed them, giving each a task according to their capabilities and physical limitations.
Soon almost all were caught up in the excitement of a flower-garden. The Home was no longer quiet and morose. Everyone had something to say about the garden. Advice flowed freely and so did reminiscences of other gardens they had grown.
The garden took shape. The rains were good that season and the plants flourished. The first flower blooms were greeted with great joy and celebration. The hedges grew thick and soon Mahesh was pruning them.
The garden became a spot for congregation, walks or just sitting on the benches ( provided by the Home ) and reading a book. New friendships had formed. What was important however, was that Kiran had found her place in God's plan for her life. It was among 'gray hair' and green hedges.
References- Good News Bible
Todays English Version
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