“Just living is not enough… one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.” – Hans Christian Anderson
As most of you know, I am a member of Classy Living Society, which is a national women’s community service organization. This past weekend I, along with several other members and CLS Founder LaShanda Pitts, went to Tampa, Florida to sisterhood bond with Tampa members. As part of the MLK Weekend of Giving, we went on a community service mission to Random Acts of Flowers, located in Dunedin, Florida. RAOF is an organization that uses recycled flowers, vases, ribbons and a few good volunteers in a community outreach of the most beautiful kind – improving the health and well-being of individuals in healthcare facilities by delivering fresh bouquets, encouragement and kind words.
With the help of the friendly ladies at RAOF, CLS members selected vases, flowers, greenery, ribbons and other decor and crafted beautiful bouquets, each with our own personal touch. It was so much fun! RAOF loaded the 76 bouquets we completed onto their van and together we delivered the bouquets to Atria Senior Living. Atria Senior living houses seniors who are active, require assisted living and are in hospice care. We walked through the halls of Atria, delivering flowers, kind words and warm-hearted smiles…but not one of our smiles could have ever matched the smiles we received from each senior (including the men!) who received an unexpected bouquet from us.
I love flowers, don’t you? The soft feel of the petals, the different hues, fragrances, shapes and sizes – ahh-mazing! It is said that flowers have healing powers; and I suppose that’s the reason why they are the No. 1 well-received gift at hospitals. I’d like to believe that, by our surprise gift of flowers, we provided a bit of healing to someone that day. I’d like to believe that, if we were the only outside visitor someone received in days, that our visit provided an emotional and mental boost. I’d like to think that some cute little old lady pressed one of the flowers between the pages of her Bible, so that each time she looks at it, it reminds her of the lovely ladies of CLS who visited her one day.
My mother used to always say “give me my flowers while I am alive” whenever we gave her flowers. I always thought it was a pretty profound statement, since we always seem to inundate people with flowers when they are sick or have passed over to the other side. The phrase comes from a gospel song of the same name and the lyrics say “give me my flowers while I yet live so I can see the beauty they bring.” I’d like to believe that if no one else ever gave flowers to the people of Atria Senior Living, we are the ones who gave them their flowers while they yet live.