There was a special guest at the garden club meeting, in addition to the fascinating program we were treated to by a camellia expert. She was a surprise visitor to our club. I do not know her real name, but I think you’ll understand if I refer to her as "Camellia."
It must have taken a tremendous amount of courage for Camellia to walk in the door of the council chambers where we meet, fueled by need, perhaps. She didn’t look like the rest of us with our nice clothes, make-up and shiny hair. Somehow, she felt drawn to us and sensed safety in our midst.
She politely asked if she could join. Yes, she was eyeing the refreshments the entire time, but she asked first. If you have never been hungry, and I mean really empty belly hungry, and cold, don’t wait to finish reading this ... start thanking God right now.
Camellia sat down with a plate of food, which included plenty of fresh vegetables and something warm to drink. She listened to the speaker. I dislike making assumptions, but I want those of you who were not in attendance to understand the entire circumstances. Our unexpected visitor was most likely under the influence of an illegal substance. Even so, her behavior during our speaker’s presentation was respectful and orderly.
Our flower expert passed examples of his camellias around. We were able to cradle them in our hands and admire their delicate beauty and color. I watched our visitor as she looked at these blooms, wondering when she last got to sit where it was warm, with food in her stomach, and take time to enjoy a slice of earth’s goodness.
After a couple plates of food, Camellia quietly rose from the table and left, heading back to the street from which she came.The rest of us continued learning about the proper care of camellias, how to get those prize winning blooms, when and how to feed them, and how to prevent them from freezing. I admit, my mind wandered a bit: were we talking about flowers ... or people? I think Camellia is much like a flower bud. There is potential there: a human being who needed not only food and warmth, but a little respect and companionship. She may yet bloom.
We held a raffle and one of our members got to take home a camellia plant. I think we all got to take home something else that was free and didn’t require a raffle ticket. We received the opportunity to not only take care of Camellia for a brief hour, but to be reminded of the many blessings we may take for granted each day.