The old man looked out of his window. He saw his neighbour very surreptitiously placing a ladder on his side of the wall, then as he watched, the man very quietly climbed up, put his hand onto the other side which was the old man’s side of the wall, and started plucking the flowers that grew there.
“Hello!” shouted the old man, “What are you doing?”
His neighbour withdrew his hand and nearly fell off the ladder, “I’m sorry!” he said, “I didn’t know…”
“I was back from the hospital!” chuckled the old man, “But do you know what I missed most in the hospital, and why I wanted to come home fast? Because I missed these flowers!”
“Ah then you understand why I also love them so much!” said his neighbour quickly.
“No, I don’t!” said the old man pretending to be puzzled though his wife inside the room saw the small smile on his face, “Those flowers can also be seen from your side of the wall, then why are you plucking them?”
“For my altar! I’m making a garland for God!” said his neighbour.
“I thought so!” said the old man, “But did you ever think that those flowers blooming in all their glory, the roses red, in shiny splendour, the carnations their pink mingling with a deeper blood red, are garlands God’s garlands for us?”
“God’s garlands for us?” asked his neighbour surprised.
“Yes, those bluebells bring me such a sense of peace. Peaceful enough for me not to rush out and push you off your ladder!” chuckled the old man.
“And if it wasn’t for those garlands that’s exactly what he would be doing!” said his wife looking out of the window and waving at the neighbour.
“You see,” said the old man as he ambled up to the wall and looked at his neighbour, “How would you feel if someone gifted you a present on your birthday and you gave the same gift back to him on his birthday?”
“Terrible!” said his neighbour.
“And that’s exactly what we do when we take God’s gifts of beauty and colour and peace and serenity, and put it on some manmade altar for God! There’s God saying ‘take all this beauty I’ve created and feel relaxed and rejuvenated, feel peaceful and loving with it! Also, don’t you think we are selfish?”
“How?” asked his neighbour.
“In cutting what is meant for everybody to see and appreciate, and collecting it to adorn our living room? Anyway my friend, I’m sure your feet are hurting. Get down, and sit on your balcony like I was doing, and enjoy God’s garlands!”
There was a twinkle in the old man’s eyes as he looked up and winked a wink of love to the Giver of the Garland..!
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