Too Late!

McDonald Lane remains etched in my memory. I strolled many times the two miles one way to Troy Johnson’s Drug Store, even as a very young girl. In those days, it was safe to do so, even by yourself. My mouth watered as I anticipated my order of the grilled pimento cheese sandwich and vanilla milkshake. They aren’t made like them anymore.

On this particular day, returning home, I noticed a beautiful bed of flowers. Various colors, shapes, and sizes. All I could think about was how those pretty flowers would please my mother. I gathered as many as my hands could hold and increased my pace towards home…never thinking that the lady who had planted them had wished to have them in a vase on her own table.

I hollered out for my mom ~ way before I got to the front door!  I could hardly contain my excitement. Anticipation filled my heart as I imagined how pleased she would be. While I stood in our living room, flowers in hand, sharing my glee, the doorbell rang. I wondered who that could be; my parents were not so surprised.

The lady who lived on McDonald Lane had followed me home, several steps behind. She was not happy…so, in my innocence, I offered to put them back in the flower bed. No doubt the adults understood my good intentions…but the flowers would never connect to their stems again. My tears of remorse were plentiful…but the flowers remained stolen.

Picked, stolen flowers are like unkind words that slip through our lips…never to return again to their silence. Though our intentions may be emotionally propelled and short-sighted at the moment, those words can leave a disconnection that may never heal.

I get to pull the ‘youthful card’ on this one. I was forgiven by my McDonald Lane neighbor and by both of my parents, but those flowers … well … they didn’t bring the joy that I had intended. I wish too that I could take back a few words I’ve let rip.

“…If you have been snared with the words of your mouth, do this then, my son, and deliver yourself; since you have come into the hand of your neighbor, go, humble yourself, and importune your neighbor…” [Proverbs 6:2-3 NAS]


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