As I was thinking of today being MLK’s birthday, a post came to my mind that I wrote back in the summer of 2017, a simple story with an important message weaved into it. I thought it would be appropriate to share again today in honor of MLK and his dream. A dream of a day when we won’t be so offended by those who are different from us, not have our eyes blinded, and be able to see past their differences and into their hearts.
(picture from Pinterest)
Jenny took off on her bike once again to go deliver some flowers of Happiness. Her Mom watched her out the kitchen window, she was so proud of her daughter. Jenny had a special love for flowers. She always made sure to have some in her room. She would also use her own money rather often to buy a fresh flowers, and she would sit them on the dining room table where they all could enjoy them. Jenny said how the sight and pleasant scent of flowers made her heart happy and she wanted to spread the joy to her family.
Recently she had started buying flowers and delivering them to her neighbors. She started with the neighbors on her street but she started adding the streets from the development behind her. Jenny told her Mom how she loved to see the smiles that her flowers brought to those who received them.
She laughed as she told her Mom that even sour Mr.McGregor was starting to give a faint smile to Jenny every time she came. At least he wasn’t shouting at her anymore to get out of his yard when she came. In fact Jenny noticed that he was sitting on his front porch more regularly lately. One time Jenny said how nice it was to see him waiting for her. He just grunted, but again she saw the trace of a smile. His sour expression and grunts used to scare her, but not anymore.
Little Billy would come running when Jenny would ride into his driveway. He would always raise his arms up for Jenny to pick him up. He would smile big as he clutched a flower in his chubby little fingers to give to his Mom. He knew not to put them in his mouth anymore. Renee, his Mom, started coming out with cookies and lemonade when Jenny came. They would sit on the porch as Billy would beg for Jenny to play with him some.
Hazel was an older widow and she often told Jenny how a visit from her was the highlight of her week. Her husband had bought her flowers a lot when he was living. Jenny enjoyed talking with her, she enjoyed hearing stories from Hazel’s past. Hazel usually had little nuggets of wisdom to pass on to Jenny. Jenny tried to make Hazel’s visit be the last one, so that she could have the time to talk to her.
There was another house that Jenny longed to stop at, but her parents told her not to. Jenny really didn’t understand why. Her parents didn’t really give a reason besides the fact that they said those people in that house were “different”.. “Different”? Jenny wasn’t sure what to think about that. It spiked her curiosity though. What was so “different’ about them. Jenny had to know.
One day she had an idea as she stopped at the house of the “different” neighbors. She ran up to the front door, laid some flowers down, pushed the doorbell and biked away as fast as she could. It worked! She got away and no harm came to her. The next week she tried it again. Jenny decided that as long as she never had to face them it would be fine to continue it and so she did.
Jenny asked Hazel one day about a sign that she had put in her yard. It said, “No matter where you are from, we are glad that you are our neighbor.” Hazel explained that it meant she welcomed everyone as a neighbor. Jenny got real quiet and then looked up at Hazel and said, “But what about that house down the street, aren’t you afraid of them? My parents say they are different!”
Hazel sighed and got a sad look in her eyes. “They are just like you and me Jenny. They have hearts that can be happy and that can break. They may speak a different language and come from a different land, but they know the power of a smile! Sadly people are afraid of things they don’t understand. If they would only know the joy that they are missing out on by not opening their heart and mind.”
Jenny put her head down and said softly, ” I wish I could meet them someday but my parents keep telling me to stay away.” Hazel took Jenny’s hand and gave it a squeeze and they just sat there in silence for awhile as the gentle breeze blew.
Jenny’s Mom was inconsolable, the time was growing shorter and the Doctors faces were growing grave. Hope had been so strong at first, but it was getting hard to keep holding onto it. Jenny’s Dad held his face in his hands, he just didn’t understand. How could this have happened! One minute Jenny is delivering flowers of happiness and the next she is fighting a life and death battle due to having been hit by a speeding driver.
Jenny needed a blood transfusion but she had a rare blood type and they were having trouble finding donors. Time was running short and Jenny was unconscious not knowing how her parents hearts ached. Suddenly the Dr. burst into Jenny’s room. “We got a donor! ” Jenny’s parents embraced as their hearts soared! Tears were falling as they watched Jenny be wheeled out of the room.
Three days later Jenny was doing a lot better. The Dr. has said she should be ready to go home in a couple more days. Her Mom was sitting in her room talking to Jenny when the Dr. came in. “Dr. Kline, Jenny and I were talking, would it be possible to meet the one who donated their blood for her, we really would like to thank them.” Dr.Kline smiled and said he would see what he could do.
The next morning Jenny was finishing her breakfast as Dr. Kline walked in. ” Mr. and Mrs. Stouffer, I was able to locate the person who donated blood to Jenny. Jenny clapped her hands and her parents were all smiles. Dr. Kline stepped out the door for a minute and then stepped back in with a lady by his side, and he said, “Please meet Roshana!”
Jenny’s parents gasped! It was their new neighbor! The “different” neighbor. They couldn’t speak. Jenny though eagerly reached out her hand and squeezed Roshana’s hand, giving her a big smile, and said, ” Thank you so very much!!”
Roshana took her hand, and smiled back, with her eyes shining. She then pulled from behind her back a bouquet of flowers for Jenny. Her parents watched as emotion filled their hearts, and Jenny’s Mom wiped tears from her eyes.
When Jenny came home from the hospital there were two signs to greet her in the front yard. One welcoming her home and another sign welcoming their neighbors.