A friend of mine said he wanted some day lilies and irises for his yard and if I wanted some I ought to also go see Willie, so I did. This short, lovely retired grandmother was out in the field sharing her crop.

She would take customers when they drove in and, using a hand held mattock, dig up and divide the clumps, leaving one plant behind. It was all informal and they would return to a stand with a tin roof and a table of boxes out front and settle up their sale.

Although in the city, it was like a trip into the country. I went back and Willie took a shine to me, and I to her, which is the language of growing flowers.

Willie had a lot of customers and knew just how to handle them with what was just a roadside stand operation. Of course, I had a lot to learn about how she got into such a business and one day as we walked from one side of the property to the other, she told me.

Her 18-year-old son had been driving on the state highway when an 18-wheeler crossed the road and crashed head on into him, killing him instantly. I remembered Willie saying to me in her soft, southern voice “that boy never caused me the least bit of trouble.” Willie knew how to raise children too. She said “what was I to do?” She began selling the yard flowers she had. She said her husband laughed at her but she said “I had to do something.”

You never know the hurt some people have experienced, but if you listen deeply, the story comes out. Willie was basically a hard working, well- balanced Christian person who had met misfortune. She was not a quitter. She taught me more about being a country woman than any person I ever knew. Her unique wisdom and phraseology were priceless. We thought alike about most of life and it cemented a rich relationship. She cherished my every book.

We all hit the hard knocks of life. Others may never know what you have experienced or where you have been but you can decide to brave the elements and go on. You cannot do it all at once but, with faith in God and perseverance you can do almost anything you set your mind to do.

You will find that the people who mean the most to you in life are likely not the rich and famous but the simple, humble hard-working folk who take what they have been given no matter how small, and with divine help do their best to make a difference for God and good.

My contention is that you were created for a reason. Everyone has a handicap; the problem is when the handicap has you. Scripture can help us. God’s timing is his own. We are told “His ways are not our ways.”

We often do not understand when our prayer for deliverance goes unanswered but, through Christ, our Lord, and the Holy Spirit, we can have inner power and be fortified to face any struggle. All life has a purpose. Can it be you are handicapped for blessing?

E. Lee Phillips, a minister and author, works in Floyd County.

Recommended for you