Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Garden (09/07/06)
TITLE: The Prayer Garden
By Shari Armstrong
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Several voices echoed back, “Good morning.”
Rose noticed Willow looked like she was still sleeping. She leaned her direction. ”Good morning, sleepyhead.”
“Oh, good morning, Rose. I was just thinking.”
”What about?” Lily perked up, joining in the conversation.
”Oh, just how quiet it’s been lately. The rain keeps everyone away. I miss seeing the children.”
A deep voice rumbled from the back, “Hmmph,”
“What’s wrong with you, Elmer?” Fern said, looking up at her long time friend.
“I don’t miss the kids. All they do is climb all over me. Never get a moment’s rest.”
Rose laughed, “You love the attention and you know it.”
He groaned. “I suppose it could be worse. I could get sat on like those old timers.” He looked at the stumps on the other side of the walk, and a shiver ran along his branches as the breeze blew past.
“Well, at least you get noticed, most everyone who comes to visit us barely notices me,” Ivy complained from the wall.
“Oh, look,” Holly whispered, “here comes the gardener.”
They all watched to see whom he would tend to first today. He walked right up to Rose, and pruned off some of her branches, leaving her bright blooms intact.
“These’ll do nicely.” He placed them in a sack slung over his shoulder. He whistled as he went around each of the beds, pulling the weeds. “Can’t have the prayer garden looking sloppy before the Sunrise service, now can we?” He raked up the piles of weeds and put them in the compost box, hidden behind Holly. The gardener left, closing the gate behind him.
“Did you hear?” Rose said. “They are having a Sunrise service. We know what that means…visitors!”
Elmer groaned again, “It also means that some of you will be going home with the visitors.”
”But isn’t that why we’re here?” Lily asked. “To be picked so our visitors can take us home to be reminded of He who created us? Isn’t He known as the Lily of the Valley? And the Rose of Sharon? And Holly, don’t your berries remind them of His blood, and your leaves of His crown of thorns? Fern, you remind them of the palms that He rode in on that special day.”
Willow asked, “But what of Elmer and me?”
Rose spoke up, “Willow you remind them that He wept for them. Elmer, my wise old friend, you remind them that He is the Tree of Life.
“I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.” Song of Solomon 2:1
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