PETALUMA, CA, May 26, 2015 – Since 2001, I have kept a garland of dried marigolds tucked away in a small ceramic pot I bought during my first trip to Nepal, a lasting reminder of the generosity of a people who have little to spare but the world to give.
I had been to Third World countries before, but never had I seen poverty like I saw when I arrived in Kathmandu. Mile after mile of partially paved roads littered with potholes. Block after block of toppled buildings. A veil of smog obscuring the surrounding mountains. And yet most everyone I met seemed utterly content. Engaged. Attentive. Even happy.
A few days later my traveling companion and I met up with some friends and flew to Pokhara, about 130 miles west, where we would begin our trek into the nearby Himalayas. It was here that I was given the garland of marigolds that, to this day, I keep in a pot on a shelf near my desk at home – a token of hospitality presented to each member of our group by our gracious hosts.
Back then, of course, they weren’t the least bit dry but wonderfully vibrant, full of life – if a bit pungent. And as they were placed around my neck, I remember thinking to myself what a touching gift this was – obviously not the least bit extravagant but undoubtedly sincere, meaningful. It was as if I’d just been given something I wasn’t even aware I needed or wanted, which made it all the more precious.
Read Also: Training yourself to think differently
Obviously I decided to keep them, first in a small bag, then in a safe corner of my luggage where they wouldn’t get crushed, then in a pot on a shelf near my desk at home.
After hearing about the recent earthquakes, I found myself glancing at these flowers, as I often do, resting just beneath the rim of the pot, wondering what sort gift I might have to offer in return. And the first and only word that comes to mind is prayer.
To some this may seem even less valuable, less practical, than a strand of flowers. And yet I remembered what it felt like to have someone place those flowers around my neck. What an impression that made, what an uplift I felt. Not only then, but every day since.
And so in return for all that the people of Nepal have given me, I offer my prayer, along with the certainty that this prayer, as well as the prayers of so many millions around the world, will be heard and felt.
I pray to know that nothing can separate anyone from God’s embrace.
I pray to know that “the still small voice” that brought such an assurance of God’s love to the prophet Elijah following a terrifying earthquake so many years ago remains to this day to inspire, to guide, to support and to protect every effort to care for those in need.
And I pray to know that, in the words of Mary Baker Eddy, “thoughts winged with peace and love breathe a silent benediction over all the earth, cooperate with the divine power, and brood unconsciously o’er the work of [God’s] hand.”
It is this prayer that I offer, and this prayer that I will keep, along with a garland of dried marigolds, in a pot on a shelf near my desk – and near my heart – at home.
Eric Nelson writes each week on the link between consciousness and health from his perspective as a practitioner of Christian Science. He also serves as the media and legislative spokesperson for Christian Science in Northern California. Read similar columns on his website and follow him on Twitter @norcalcs.Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2015 Communities Digital News
This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities Digital News, LLC. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.
Correspondingly, Communities Digital News, LLC uses its best efforts to operate in accordance with the Fair Use Doctrine under US Copyright Law and always tries to provide proper attribution. If you have reason to believe that any written material or image has been innocently infringed, please bring it to the immediate attention of CDN via the e-mail address or phone number listed on the Contact page so that it can be resolved expeditiously.