I couldn’t resist. Sitting on the wall next to Shakespeare’s home in Stratford I realized a wall of lavender was just behind the fence. Its scent was strong, was immediately identifiable. As I reached behind me to stealthily rub the soft green shoots a quiet voice said, “You do it too? My husband says I shouldn’t.” The speaker was a small, slender woman somewhat passed middle age. She too was sitting, back to the lavender a short distance away.
“I don’t think it will mind”, I said chancing that she would understand my comment. “No, I suppose it won’t” she replied. We both fell silent, bathed in lavender scent and the camaraderie it had created.
“I can only take day trips now. The chemotherapy is very hard on me and I postponed it to come here.” Chemotherapy? While she was small of stature and build, she did not appear ill and I did not notice any of its usual effect on her physically. Startled, I asked about it. “Yes, she said. Last year they gave me a year or less to live. That was July last. But I pray and so here I still am.”
So I said the only thing that I felt would matter. “I will join my prayers with yours”.
I have indeed joined my prayers and prayers from others and one prayer is of gratitude that she showed me what true faith and courage are all about. They are about a small English woman whose incense is the smell of lavender.