Don’t Fall Away From the Warmth

On Sunday, our Associate Pastor, Monica, ended her sermon with the following story which I cannot help but share because it pertains to so many facets of life, especially family and friendships. It is truly something to consider, this falling away…

The story goes like this.  “A member of the Church, who previously had been attending services regularly, stopped going. After a few weeks, the pastor grew concerned and decided to visit him.   The pastor found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire. Guessing the reason for his pastor’s visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a comfortable chair near the fireplace and waited.

The pastor made himself at home but said nothing. In the silence, he contemplated the dance of the flames around the burning logs. After some minutes, the pastor took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth all alone …then he sat back in his chair, still silent.

The host watched all this in quiet contemplation. As the one lone ember’s flame flickered and diminished, there was a momentary glow and then its fire was no more. Soon it was cold and dead.

Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting. The pastor slowly stood up, picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire.  Immediately it began to glow once more with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it.

As the pastor reached the door to leave, his host said ‘Thank you so much for your visit and especially for the fiery sermon. I’ll see you in Church next Sunday!”

Although some may not be seen in church next Sunday, how wonderful it would be to once again see  them as part of the warmth.


A Garden Full of Flowers

I have met many different people while visiting long-term care facilities, nursing homes and hospitals, as part of my volunteer duties.

One man I met, Mr. Flowers, was an amputee, and while he had no legs from above the knees, he sat high in his wheel chair and had a commanding presence. He was of sound mind, whereas some of his fellow residents had lost this faculty, and Mr. Flowers often found it difficult to find someone to talk to. He had been a high school teacher in his working years, and it was easy to engage him in conversation.

When he learned that I wrote poetry, he asked me to write a poem specifically for him. Being the kind of man he was, and his unusual name, it didn’t take me very long to come up with the following poem:

A Garden Full of Flowers

      (for Mr. Flowers)

 A garden full of flowers

when tended with great care

or tended not at all

if wildflower seed is planted there

will reap its keeper plenitude

in fragrant showy splendor

and bring the memory of spring

come blustery December.

Blooms spring forth upon the mind,

deep wine rose and purple phlox,

daffodils of yellow,

multicolored hollyhocks

replace the snow and blizzards

in the darkened winter hours

and keep alive in mind’s great eye

that garden full of flowers.

©Patricia Ann Boyes

March 7, 2005

You would think I had given him back his legs when he read that poem! He beamed the brightest smile that nursing home had seen in a very long while, and I got a hug that almost toppled him out of the wheel chair.

What a blessing to see the happiness a string of words, placed in the right order on a simple piece of paper could bring to a person.

Mr. Flowers, who didn’t seem to have any religious affiliations whatsoever, shouted, “God bless you!” as I entered the elevator to leave that day’s visiting behind.

“He already has, Mr. Flowers,” I said, “He already has!”