When I met Mary, she'd moved in with our neighbors after leaving the farm she and her husband had raised their family on.
With her husband now gone and family long grown up, she was welcomed by the church family she loved and that loved her.
She was probably in her 80s then, and full of spirit, both Holy and energetic.
To say Mary love the Lord was almost an understatement;
Mary LOVED the Lord.
She sang for the Lord.
She prayed to the Lord.
She talked about the Lord.
She acted on behalf the Lord.
Mary was also a simple woman.
She worked the land with her hands,
recycled long before it was vogue,
and probably never stayed in a fancy hotel or traveled very far.
Mary was the real deal,
nothing put on, fake or done-up.
And did I say, Mary LOVED Jesus?
The peony bush pictured above came from Mary's farm. She blessed me and the friend she was living with by allowing us to go to her farm and dig up whatever we wanted. We each got peonies and transplanted them in our yards, where we were reminded of our dear friend Mary after she left for a nursing home and after she left this world for her heavenly home.
When we sold our home and built this one 2 1/2 years ago, a new house in a new neighborhood where the trees are young and the landscaping is put in by the builders, we planted this peony bush, along with other plants we'd had at our former home, replacing most of the cookie-cutter landscaping and making this new place seem more like home.
And this peony bush has thrived.
It has more blossoms this year than it ever has,
and the scent sends me to the moon.
Did I tell you that this peony bush is well over 100 years old?
How fitting that this beautiful bush is as old as it is beautiful.
Just like Mary.
Mary was old and she had a beautiful heart.
We respected her as our elder as well as our friend and Sister in Christ.
Every time this bush shares its beautiful blossoms and their scent, I am reminded of Mary.
Stand up in the presence of the aged,
show respect for the elderly and revere your God.
I am the Lord.