My mom forwarded this story to me today, and I just had to share it.
I spent the week before my daughter’s June wedding
running last-minute trips to the caterer, florist,
tuxedo shop, and the church about forty miles away.
As happy as I was that Patsy was marrying a good
Christian young man, I felt laden with
responsibilities as I watched my budget dwindle . .
So many details, so many bills, and so little time.
My son Jack was away at college, but he said
he would be there to walk his younger sister down
the aisle, taking the place of his dad who had died
a few years before. He teased Patsy, saying he’d
wanted to give her away since she was about three years old!
To save money, I gathered blossoms from several
friends who had large magnolia trees. Their
luscious, creamy-white blooms and slick green eaves
would make beautiful arrangements against the rich
dark wood inside the church.
After the rehearsal dinner the night before the
wedding, we banked the podium area and choir loft
with magnolias. As we left just before midnight, I
felt tired but satisfied this would be the best
wedding any bride had ever had! The music, the
ceremony, the reception – and especially the
flowers – would be remembered for years.
The big day arrived – the busiest day of my life –
and while her bridesmaids helped Patsy to dress, her
fiancé Tim walked with me to the sanctuary to do a
final check. When we opened the door and felt a
rush of hot air, I almost fainted; and then I saw
them – all the beautiful white flowers were black.
Funeral black. An electrical storm during the night
had knocked out the air conditioning system, and on
that hot summer day, the flowers had wilted and died.
I panicked, knowing I didn’t have time to drive back
to our hometown, gather more flowers, and return in
time for the wedding.
Tim turned to me. ‘Edna, can you get more flowers?
I’ll throw away these dead ones and put fresh
flowers in these arrangements.’
I mumbled, ‘Sure,’ as he be-bopped down the hall to
put on his cuff links.
Alone in the large sanctuary, I looked up at the
dark wooden beams in the arched ceiling. ‘Lord,’ I
prayed, ‘please help me. I don’t know anyone in
this town. Help me find someone willing to give me
flowers – in a hurry!’ I scurried out praying for
four things: the blessing of white magnolias,
courage to find them in an unfamiliar yard, safety
from any dog that may bite my leg, and a nice person
who would not get out a shotgun when I asked to cut
his tree to shreds..
As I left the church, I saw magnolia trees in the
distance. I approached a house…No dog in sight..
knocked on the door and an older man answered. So
far so good. No shotgun. When I stated my plea
the man beamed, ‘I’d be happy to!’
He climbed a stepladder and cut large boughs and
handed them down to me. Minutes later, as I lifted
the last armload into my car trunk, I said, ‘Sir,
you’ve made the mother of a bride happy today.’
No, Ma’am,’ he said. ‘You don’t understand what’s
‘What?’ I asked.
‘You see, my wife of sixty-seven years died on
Monday. On Tuesday I received friends at the
funeral home, and on Wednesday . . . He paused. I
saw tears welling up in his eyes. ‘On Wednesday I
buried her.’ He looked away. ‘On Thursday most of
my out-of-town relatives went back home, and on
Friday – yesterday – my children left.’
‘This morning,’ he continued, ‘I was sitting in my
den crying out loud. I miss her so much. For the
last sixteen years, as her health got worse, she
needed me. But now nobody needs me. This morning I
cried, ‘Who needs an eighty-six-year-old wore-out
man? Nobody!’ I began to cry louder. ‘Nobody needs
me!’ About that time, you knocked, and said,
‘Sir, I need you.’
I stood with my mouth open.
He asked, ‘Are you an angel? The way the light shone
around your head into my dark living room…’
I assured him I was no angel.
He smiled. ‘Do you know what I was thinking when I
handed you those magnolias?’
‘I decided I’m needed. My flowers are needed. Why,
I might have a flower ministry! I could give them
to everyone! Some caskets at the funeral home have
no flowers. People need flowers at times like that
and I have lots of them. They’re all over the
backyard! I can give them to hospitals, churches –
all sorts of places. You know what I’m going to do?
I’m going to serve the Lord until the day He calls
I drove back to the church, filled with wonder. On
Patsy’s wedding day, if anyone had asked me to
encourage someone who was hurting, I would have
said, ‘Forget it! It’s my only daughter’s wedding,
for goodness’ sake! There is no way I can minister
to anyone today.’
But God found a way. Through dead flowers.
‘Life is not the way it’s supposed to be. It’s the
way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes