The Flower Sister


Not long ago, I finally saw the Flower Sister. I had entered our ward’s unlit chapel early on a Sabbath morning before a meeting with the bishopric—and there she was, slipping out the other door of the chapel. I recognized her as a member of one of the wards in our stake. I knew it was she because a glorious floral arrangement was freshly arrayed up near the podium, ready to lend beauty and reverence to a full day of meetings. I felt as if I’d stumbled upon a sacred act.

Every week, the Flower Sister arranges her flowers beautifully and imaginatively—and anonymously. As the year progresses, her arrangements transform from spring blossoms into summer flowers. In the fall, autumn colors take over. In winter, the Flower Sister displays dried flowers that bloomed before the snows came. She brings poinsettias at Christmas and holly and pine boughs at the New Year.

Only rarely are the flowers expensive greenhouse blooms. Some weeks the Flower Sister gathers goldenrod, wild daisies, tall grasses, and cattails and arranges each humble weed to show off its particular beauty. Brought together purposefully in the Lord’s house, these flowers make a grander sight than they do when scattered along the wayside.

I wonder if the Flower Sister knows how I delight in her offering each Sabbath. Anyone with children knows that Sunday mornings are often hectic. Prelude music and the opening hymn and prayer help restore our Sabbath spirits, but what soothes me when I sit down in our chapel is the Flower Sister’s silent, delicate contribution to our day’s worship.

I sometimes wish I could tell her that at least one person is blessed by what she does. I’m sure she would smile in reply, but I don’t think compliments are why she brings the flowers each week. She would keep bringing them even if no one noticed. She has taught me that a kindness done with no thought of public recognition is a form of silent worship.

Although I now avoid intruding on the Flower Sister’s early-morning errand in the chapel, I continue to look forward every Sunday to her prayer of flowers.

[illustration] Illustrated by Dilleen Marsh

Steven L. Orton is the executive secretary of the Burke Ward, Annandale Virginia Stake.