Autumn in Her Hands
All she recognized was the sand between her toes.
Peace, she had forgotten long ago.
All she knew was the quiet bitterness and stifled rage.
She had no answers for why God brought her to this place.
A wasteland was where He left her.
A princess of the hills became queen of endless sand.
A position she never planned to occupy,
But here she was, grains digging into the skin.
She closed her eyes and tried to dream
Of a place where she used to be.
Filled with songs of sunset soul and hill country;
Occupied by friends dancing and family laughing.
She remembered her old house, her late pets, her abounding riches.
Studying the past made the present seem like punishment.
It was a prison to her potential,
Policing her happiness.
Living in this state made her want to rage.
She opened her eyes to the ground below.
There was no doubting it. It was beautiful.
A yellow cinquefoil daring to brighten her day.
Another flower from the garden of relief;
Another blessing sprouting through the defeat,
Tempting her with joy when she was accustomed to tears.
All she knew was isolation, anger, and fear.
Yet, the rays of the sun glowed on the petals.
What was the purpose of gifting her this fellow?
She bent low and felt each petal.
He was inviting, sweet, and gentle.
His stem comforting, strong, and peaceful.
His roots dug deep as if rooted to Earth’s core.
A whiff of his scent and she began to soften.
His petal in her hands sparked a vision.
His radiant yellow reflecting the light of the sun.
His defiance to the wasteland felt like a man-
A man strong enough to hold her through the pain.
She sat beside him in this jail of a wasteland.
She studied his stem and researched the root.
Why dress himself in colors of hope and happiness?
Why does his presence ease her stress?
Slowly, she started feeling the heart beat within her chest.
She, too, became a flower blooming.
She was coming out of her brooding.
He became her best friend within the wasteland.
She told him all her fears, pains, and plans.
Despite her insecurities, he remained.
Standing with her in defiance to the life given her.
It almost felt like he’d never leave her.
Blessings came and went for so many years,
It became a routine and a fear.
“Just when it gets good, God will take him away.
Right when I say, ‘I love you’,
He’ll pack his things and run away,
Or he’ll change and begin acting crazy.”
What little hope she had began to fade.
She stared at the flower dismayed.
She reached for a petal and plucked it from the flower.
He drooped from his bloom as the pain consumed.
She held a piece of him in her hands and stared.
“The desert is no place for a flower,” she said. “Get out of here.”
The yellow cinquefoil sank beside her.
All he wanted was to bloom for her.
Yet, she harmed him because she was insecure and bitter.
She said she wanted him to go away,
But resilient, he lifted his face.
He embraced the sun’s rays and bloomed once again.
She wept over her violent reaction.
She stood up and walked away.
Before she had gone too far, she stopped, amazed.
She looked down, and there he was again,
Blooming just so she could have some beauty in her misery.
Seeing how he would not leave made her tremble and weep.
She had pushed him away, but he did not leave.
With his four remaining petals, he stood tall.
He didn’t look fazed at all.
She laid down beside him and apologized for her strike.
He remained obstinate despite.
She laid there, caressing his stem
When the dark thoughts brewed again.
“He’ll leave. He’s no different.
Man, or flower, he’ll get distant.”
Ashes are all that she had known in life.
Something had to burn before it became beauty.
This was the lesson she learned early.
Her innocence ripped away by violence and a gun to the face.
Her safety ruined by pursuits of perverted men.
Her heart destroyed by infidelity and broken trust.
Her darkness solidified by murder and drugs.
Her curse confirmed by the presence of cancer.
Her misery seemed as endless as the endless sand.
But God’s mercy came down in her misery.
He restored her body and gave her food to eat.
Every attack sent by every enemy
He dismantled at her feet.
“You are too precious to Me,” He said intentionally.
Everywhere He sent her, He sent gardens to bless her.
New jobs, new homes, new riches, and children.
It was no surprise that He sent this flower.
Just as she came out of these thoughts,
She glanced at him and was appalled by what she saw.
He had turned from her and wasn’t looking towards her at all.
She reached out and plucked another petal.
He slumped once again and began to tremble.
“Why did you turn from me!?
Were you looking for another girl!?” She asked.
Then, she noticed the seeds he had planted.
Little mounds of sand stretched thirty feet past him.
Little buds soon began to grow.
The desert garden was finally beginning to show.
Her reaction was miserable,
So, she fled from his presence.
She was a danger to him.
That was ever present.
She said in her heart, “This is where I’ll leave him.
I’m too broken for this.
One day, he’ll understand.”
She ran far away and far out of sight.
She fell to the ground and wept all night.
Why was she so mean?
Why was her reaction to fight?
How long had she walked with the Lord
And still could not get it right?
After he showed his wealth, why did she take flight?
She questioned herself from night until dawn,
Working the night shift until fatigue came on.
Early in the morning, she fell asleep.
She woke a short time later thanks to the intense heat.
She rubbed her eyes and yawned heavily.
She jumped from her place when she saw him at her feet.
Five petals no more, he was down to three.
The yellow cinquefoil remained in close proximity.
“Why do you not stay away from me!?” She shouted angrily.
“I’ve hurt you twice, and I have done what is not right!
Why do you insist to stand and fight!?”
He merely stood there, blooming.
That’s all he wanted to show her: beauty.
If she deserved such things, why did they not come on the beach?
Why couldn’t they find her drinking dry martinis beneath a canopy?
Why the desert, the volcano, the battlefields, or the endless seas?
Every blessing birthed from ash, drowning, and bleeding.
Why didn’t God send her to green pastures filled with flowers?
Why uproot her every time the garden blooms?
She sat quiet, sighed, and remained still.
She let the flower do God’s will.
He searched the canvas for a place to replant his seeds.
He decided on a place and led her accordingly.
She walked behind this confident, little flower,
Unsure of how it moved.
She’d blink or look ahead and whoosh, it moved.
She felt herself going crazy, being led by a flower.
It felt more insane with each passing hour.
When she became a cancer survivor,
She gave her life to the Lord.
She turned from many wicked ways and trusted Him more.
Not long into the journey she learned one simple thing:
“At the end of the day, it’s only God and me.”
Abandoned by the weak and used by the conniving.
She was done with the abuse, manipulation, and lying.
She had suffered alone and endured alone.
Married or not, she was left alone.
Yet, God protected, and no weapon prospered.
But now she surrendered that power to be led by a flower?
And he had been walking aimlessly for hours.
She reached down and plucked another petal.
The flower fled away, completely startled.
She held in her hand three withering, yellow petals.
She fell to her knees and her confidence dwindled.
Why did she hurt him a third time?
Was she out of her God-given mind?
She looked up ahead to find the flower.
Everywhere she looked, she could not find him.
All that was left were the seeds meant for the garden.
She wept as she gathered them.
Her tears became the water they used to eat.
She planted them hoping they wouldn’t die from the heat.
Days passed and a garden she amassed.
God was still blessing her regardless of her past.
The one flower became many,
And the many felt like home.
Once again, in her wasteland, she wasn’t alone.
She built a fence around the garden;
Started a plan to make herself a home.
She bent low and planted a seed in the ground.
She turned around and the yellow cinquefoil could be found.
He was planting more seeds for her all around.
She hurried to him, stomping with each step.
“Why are you back here!?” She asked irritated.
“You don’t get volunteer yourself where you’re not invited!”
The yellow cinquefoil planted another seed.
She plucked another petal because she was angry.
“You keep trying me like you want to fight.
Keep this up and I’ll pluck you right out of my life.”
The flower stood still and bloomed beneath her.
He did not flinch, run, or even turn away from her.
He stared her down like an unwavering soldier.
Resolute in his stance that he would not leave,
He was like a man in that he would not accept defeat.
Stubborn, bitter, angry, and determined.
This is who she had become in the storms she weathered.
This little flower turned out to be a reflection of her.
A completely different entity, but somehow the same.
Different in name, but equal in manner.
“Why bring me someone who is just like me?” She asked.
“Why does this flower act like it knows my misery?
He did not outlast the flames of the volcano and their heat.
He did not have to swim the endless sea.
He didn’t even dirty his hands with the blood of many.
He just came in and had access to the best of me.”
“I had to work hard to get to where I am.
I had to endure it all just to see God’s hand.
Yet, he just comes in and blooms like it’s no big deal.
He thinks he should be here. Get real!
He wasn’t with me back then, and I don’t need him now.
Bloom all he wants to, all big and proud.
I’ll humble him for good, right now.”
And with that, she plucked his final petal.
With no petals to give him shade,
His fell to the ground, and his spirit began to fade.
The seeds he held burned within his grasp.
With no more petals, he breathed his last.
The sun beamed down and shined on his roots.
In a flash, he was consumed.
Recognizing what she had just done,
She put out the blaze and hid him from the sun…
It was too late…
He returned to the dust from whence he came.
She heard the Lord, in the distance, calling her name.
She buried the flower and tended to the garden she made.
“Where are you, My daughter?” the Lord called.
She cleaned up her space and left no evidence at all.
“Here I am,” she said. “Why brings You by?”
“I came to check on you and the little guy.”
“Little guy?” She asked. “Oh, You mean the flower.”
“Yes, the little flower. Where could he be at this hour?”
Knowing the truth made her face turn sour.
Eve getting caught with the fruit in her belly.
She remembered the exact spot where she had him buried.
God followed her eyes and knew.
He asked one simple question, “What did you do?”
She unclenched her fist,
Let the petals fly with the wind.
God simply said, “You’ve done it again.
You’ve attacked the one I sent to be your friend.”
She fell to her knees and began to weep.
What had she turned out to be?
Knowing the result made her angry.
“Stop!” God said immediately.
Startled, she rose to her feet.
“Do not be married to your anger!
Stop trying to live life all alone!
Your anger is a very destructive thing.
You attacked the friend who was sent by Me.
Do you not see how violent it can be?
Petals left your hands but a moment ago,
Yet you turn back to your anger
Like you don’t know the end result.
You will hurt something!”
“And just like you’ve done before,
You will leave the garden I made for you
Because you think you know what to do.
You think you know what’s best for you.
What’s best for you is a yellow cinquefoil.
You are not a child, and he is not a toy.
Stop throwing away My gifts because you can’t control them.
Let him be who I made him to be,
And you find a way to let that make you happy.”
“You complain of volcanoes, battlefields, deserts, and seas,
But have you thought about the gardens you’ve had in these?
Didn’t you know I’d change them all for you?”
“I know you want to be sipping dry martinis beneath a canopy,
But your restoration is not complete.
Let the garden become the only thing you see.
Live your life in joy and thanksgiving.”
“Trials always come.
Environments always change.
But you know who stays the same? Me.
I am who I was.
I am who I am.
And I will be who I will be.
I am the same yesterday, today, and evermore.
Let Me worry about where I’ve set your feet.
You just find the joy in it all and remain in peace.”
With the wave of His hand, the petals returned.
He gathered them together and buried them in the sand.
“I will give you beauty for ashes,” He proclaimed.
“Be gentle with him and let him remain.”
With that, God rose and the vision faded.
She looked around and saw her garden had expanded.
Impressed by it all, she almost forgot her hand.
She opened it and saw the yellow cinquefoil petals.
She remembered her friend and the things he did.
She knelt in the soil and planted them for him.
She tended to her garden as her friend began to grow.
All across the desert, his seeds began to show.
Even the heat of the sun began to dwindle.
She had changed the environment she was left in again.
The endless sand, like the others, became a garden.
The sand became soil
With streams of water running through.
Trees stood everywhere to keep the ground cool.
Flowers covered the fields in every hue.
Here in this wasteland, she had done all she could do.
She sat in the midst of her garden and thanked God.
He truly gave her a place in which she could abide.
She ate of the fruit of the tree and still turned out happy.
There really only seemed to be one thing missing.
She sat beside the mound and waited for her friend.
In just a short while, he would bloom again.
How excited he’d be when he’d see the results of his seeds.
How different she would be this time when they meet.
So ends the story of the cinquefoil and the lady.