Saturday, February 28, 2009

My Mother’s Easter Lily

When I was a child, every year my father would buy my mother an Easter lily. Her eyes would beam with joy when she looked at her Easter lily and with love when she looked at my dad. Every year my mom would plant her Easter lily in her little garden in the front yard. She would tend it lovingly in hopes that it would bloom again the next year. For some unknown reason, they never did. The stalk would rise from the ground but the flowers never blossomed. Of course that never stopped my mother from trying again year after year.

My Mom passed away in March of 1971. That was the first year my father didn’t buy an Easter lily. I missed that Easter lily and the joy it brought into my mother’s eyes. Of course my church had a numerous number of Easter lilies laid out on the alter in the shape of a cross. I remember sitting in church that Easter Sunday and not being able to take my eyes off that cross of Easter lilies. Tears began to trickle down my face as I thought of the joy that would have beamed from my mother’s eyes had she been there with me to see that huge cross of Ester lilies.

While driving home from Easter Sunday service, I started to wonder what it is was about a simple white trumpet-shaped flower with bright green leaves that brought so much joy into my mother’s eyes and why they were so popular in churches at Easter. I decided I would find out more about the Easter lily.

I went to the library and did some research. I found out that the lily is a symbol of joy, new life, new hope and the resurrection of Jesus. The bulb symbolizes the tomb of Jesus, and the flower blossoms symbolize his life after death. I found out that lilies are often called the "white-robed apostles of hope." Legend has it that beautiful white lilies sprung up in the Garden of Gethsemane where drops of Christ's sweat fell to the ground in his final hours of sorrow. The Easter lily has become a symbol for a beautiful, flawless Savior.

I also found out that The Easter lily is not naturally a spring flower. Florists force them under controlled conditions to blossom in time for Easter. As I knew, churches decorate alters with masses of Easter Lilies and people, like my father, give them to loved ones as Easter gifts.

I always believed in Jesus’ resurrection and had faith in His promise of everlasting life. Therefore, I believed that the soul of my mother, who was a good Christian, was in Heaven with our Savior and God almighty. Even so, grief over the loss of my mother laid heavy in my heart.
One day later that spring, as I arrived home from school and started walking up the steps to my home, I glanced over into my mother’s little garden. I saw for the first time, a single white lily that had blossomed upon a tall green leafy stalk.

You might think that I would have felt sadness that my mother was not alive to witness that single lily blossom, I did not. With my newly acquired knowledge of the symbolism of the Easter lily, I felt great joy. As my eyes followed the trumpet-shaped blossom from the narrow end to the wider end and on up towards the Heavens, a great sadness lifted from my heart. My mother’s new everlasting life in Heaven at the feet of our Savior was truly beautiful and flawless. I thanked the Lord for that single lily blossom for it said my mother is at peace and that she is always here with me, here inside my heart. For the first time I had hope for a future without so much grief.

Now so many years later, I realize how important asking God for guidance in everything we do is. Sometimes life takes twist and turns in ways we don’t understand. But if we pray and keep our faith, the Lord will guide our every action towards an end that He does understand.

Just think, if my father hadn’t bought my mother an Easter lily every year, and my mother hadn’t planted every single one even though she never saw a second bloom, I would never have felt the inexplicable joy and comfort that I did when I witnessed that single lily bloom.

May the Lord’s will guide your hands in everything you do.

Remember your mother with a Personalized Easter Lilies Photo Ornament

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