Weeds to Flowers by Laura Rothstein

This morning in class, Carrie Robb, read a beautiful poem during shavasana about perspective.    One of the verses read ” A change in perspective is all anyone needs so go and change.  Make flowers out of weeds.”   jarring a precious childhood memory of mine.

I remember my First Holy Communion vividly.  After months of preparation, the anticipation was almost to much to bear. I couldn’t wait for the service but was equally excited to wear my beautiful white gown and veil.  Yes, even at the young age of 7, my inner fashionista was brewing.

My mother, Setsuko Muraki, was a single mom raising three young children alone since the death of my father 6 yrs earlier.  I would be wearing the beautiful lace shift dress with the white satin bow placed at the heart center along with the simple lace veil that my mother had made my sister 2 years earlier.   My only request for my special day was the possibility of buying new white patent leather shoes.   We only had black patent leather shoes that my mother had bought for my sister on sale for her first communion.   Sensibly, my mother did not grant my request as there was just not enough money in the budget.  I have to admit, I was more than bummed.  The thought of my angelic pure white  outfit put together with  black shoes was not appealing.  But alas, I understood and when the day arrived I donned my beautiful outfit, black patent leather shoes and all.mom2

My mother, sister, brother and I piled into our car and headed towards Blessed Sacrament Church.   I remember asking my mother where my flowers were that all the children were required to bring as an offering to the Blessed Mother.  Raising three young children and working full time in a country that largely considered her a foreigner was exhausting to say the least.  Inevitably something had to give.  There was a silence  and then without missing a beat my mother pulled over to the side of the road in front of field filled with what she called wild flowers.   She ran out in her dress to the field and proceeded to pick a bunch of beautiful wild flowers.  When she got back to the car I remember her handing them to me, ants and all.  I sat there shocked, anxiety began to flood my body.  Not only would I be the only girl with black patent shoes, but I was bringing “weeds” as flowers to the Blessed Mother.   But mom remained joyful and excited.  So my mood shifted and my perspective changed.  I thought to myself how many times we passed that field and each time my mom pointed out the beautiful flowers growing in the wild.   They were flowers, they just weren’t store bought or grown in a garden.  They were growing wild in God’s garden.

When we arrived at church, we quickly walked down to join my classmates and their families. I noticed all of the lovely flouncy dresses, tiaras and satin gloves worn by most of my classmates.  Of course I noticed their clean white patent leather shoes and beautiful bouquet of flowers.   I remember at that moment feeling  happy and alive until I heard  a couple of the  mothers and their children whispering “What’s wrong with them, they are offering weeds to Mother Mary”  My heart tightened and a sinking feeling enveloped my body.   At that moment, I glanced up to my mother who was standing next to me.  Surely she heard what the others had said, but there she stood looking down at me smiling, regal, beautiful and radiating love for me and everyone around us.    It was almost as if time stood still.   When I glanced up, her strength and love embraced me and I knew in an instant I had nothing to fear and everything to love.








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