Peace Lilies

Peace Lilies November 9, 2012

In the Adoration Chapel the lights are low. On the altar the oil candles flicker behind the gold monstrance, making the Blessed Sacrament appear opaque. I am soothed when here, comfortable and comforted.

Usually I write when I come before Our Lord. There is a narrow table at the back of the chapel where I am often found leaning over a spiral pad, blue gel-pen scratching in words.

Today I chose a pew near the front. I alternate between sitting and kneeling as I pray. My knees are a bit more stiff and do not allow staying on them for very long. As I leaned against the back of the pew in front of me, the rosary moving between my fingers taps a whispering cadence against the wooden surface.

I can hear the clock on the opposite wall clicking away the seconds. I am gently reminded and heartened at how their passing brings me closer to eternity, my reunion.

My thoughts and prayers begin to focus on a woman, near my own age, who has faced too many traumas in her life. She was recently found near death in a motel room after a failed suicide attempt.

My heart aches for her. Her feelings of being unloved and hopeless, was a pain she didn’t know how to manage, a sorrow she couldn’t navigate.

My eyes refocus from the internal vision of her and her suffering to the altar and then the body of Christ. Looking down I see three pots of Peace Lilies—one of the few houseplants capable of living in low-light environments. The larger plant is near the windows, the smaller two are in front of the altar.

What I notice is different about one of these smaller lilies is that someone has removed the dead stems and leaves. The remaining leaves are sparse but healthy looking and shine even in the dim light.

I reflect on this and the suicidal woman. I wonder if she will soon come to realize, while institutionalized, that she too is being cleansed. That all that is dead and decaying in her heart is being removed. That she will be lighter once the purging has taken place. And like the Peace Lily, her growth will continue to be healthy in environments not as intense as others she may have known.

As I ready to leave I see something I hadn’t noticed before—a single small white flower emerging from the plant. Once cleansed of the unwanted decay, there is room for flowers to bud. Genuflecting low as I exit the pew I smile to myself…the woman for whom I’ve prayed will blossom soon enough. I am eager for her to know peace.

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