“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” James 1:17
A couple of years after Mom died, I went to the Mobile Botanical Gardens to celebrate her June 10 birthday. I spent the morning roaming along meandering paths admiring nature’s beauty and missing Mom. In the structured, manicured herb garden I curled onto the wooden bench of a latticed arbor and called Dad from my cell phone. I described to him the snowy cascade of roses that tumbled over my head and down the sides of the arbor. I could hear the smile in his voice as we chatted, savoring memories of Mom and I felt the shift to sorrow as we shared the heartache of losing her.
Reluctantly I ended the call and continued my stroll through the gardens. A worn, wooded path along the perimeter beckoned to me and I drifted into a brown world of dirt and dead leaves far from the vibrant roses and fragrant rosemary and sage. I walked about ten minutes as the path wound uphill and the mottled sunlight floated toward me through the canopy. As I rounded a curve and gazed upward, I felt like Dorothy entering the technicolor dream world of Oz. Before me the hilltop garden opened up to reveal a rainbow of hydrangeas in purples, pinks and blues. My breath caught as my eyes feasted on the botanical bounty in front of me. I wove along the path, examining the flowers, but stopped to gaze at the blue ones, the most prevalent color among the plethora of showy blooms.
I sat down on a periwinkle bench, laughing and crying, and called Dad back. I described the scene to him. “Your Momma always did love blue hydrangeas.” His voice was soft, full of love and longing. The beauty before me reminded me that Mom was now in a place of unimaginable splendor, unfathomable peace and unending love. All her sorrow and sickness were erased. And even though Dad and I were separated from each other by hundreds of miles and were temporarily separated from Mom, it felt like God gave us a birthday gift meant just for her and just for us: a garden of blue hydrangeas.