“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16 KJ)
When I was a little boy growing up my Mom, Dad, brothers and I lived in my Nana’s old house. It was surrounded by four huge vegetable gardens. And around the house were planted so many flowers. It was so beautiful there in the Spring and Summer. That wasn’t all, though. On the back porch Nana had dozens of potted plants hanging on hooks. She watered them, talked to them and nurtured them. And in the Winter she would carry them all inside and set them on shelves near the windows of our enclosed front porch. There with a little water and a lot of love she kept them alive, green, and growing even during the coldest, darkest months.
As a boy I was puzzled by all the effort she put into them. I understood the vegetable gardens. They helped to feed the family all winter long. I even understood the flowers around the house. They were pretty and smelled so sweet in the summer months. The reason she put so much effort into caring for those potted plants, however, eluded me. They didn’t give us any food and they rarely had any flowers on them. They remained a mystery to my child’s mind.
Now as I’ve grown older I am beginning to understand why my Nana had those potted plants. It is the same reason I have so many pictures of sunrises and forests hanging in my home. They remind me during the dark, cold, winter months full of bare trees and yellow grass that light, love, and growth still exist. They remind me that Spring will come again. They remind me that God Loves us and is still with us even when the earth doesn’t show it.
Today I see Nana’s potted plants in a new light. They were worth every bit of the love and care she put into them. But my greatest reminder of light and love was Nana herself. She was light to my soul even in my darkest times. And her love lives on in my heart now that she is in Heaven. May we all learn to love as she loved, shine as she shined, and live as she lived.
Joseph J. Mazzella