Today’s beautiful post is written by Latresha Woodruff Johnson, one of the most encouraging people I know. Latresha, thank you for continually pointing me to God and reminding me that there is always hope in Him.
My grandmother was named Jewel, and how fitting, because she always gave us little pearls of wisdom. She also left us with some funny saying as well, some laced with a few four letter words (I won’t repeat those here), but I will share these: When talking about my uncle, whom she said couldn’t keep a secret, she would say, “That boy couldn’t hold 5 ounces of water in a 10 gallon bucket with a lid on it,” or for people who think they know it all, “His head is bigger than yours and he don’t know everything so neither do you.” And this is what she would say when you were “testing her nerves” by doing something she told you not to do: “You don’t believe fat is meat greasy!”
Momma, as we all affectionately called her, tried to teach us to always be grateful to people even for the small things that they do. Now here is where I insert a pearl of wisdom from Momma, “Give them their flowers while they are here.”
That’s pretty self explanatory, but I will further break it down. She meant — say thank you to people while they are living on this earth; don’t wait until it ‘s too late. I know what it feels like to smell the flowers of gratitude. I spent 16 years as a television news reporter, and now my job is to keep news reporters informed. There was one particular reporter who I saw some promise in, but she tended to be very inconsiderate of my time and would show up unannounced. I am a matter-of-fact person, so I definitely put her in her place, nicely though. But again I saw promise in her, so whenever she would come by, I gave her pointers on being a great reporter and putting her stories together to make them effective. I have watched her grow into a seasoned reporter, always thinking some veteran reporters at her TV station really must be spending time mentoring her. Well, to my surprise, she sent me flowers this week – not literally but figuratively the way momma sent flowers. I got a card (a nice handwritten one the way I like them–all personal) from this young reporter which read:
You have taught me so much! Your encouragement and feedback has helped me grow over the last 3 years into the reporter I am today. I’ll be sending you my work from Cincinnati for more tips! Thank you for always being so sweet, so accessible and such a joy to work with. I wish you all the best! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year…..
I can still smell those flowers… the fragrance will linger in my mind for years to come. I feel like a proud parent. She is going to one of the largest TV markets, and I, the little ole girl from Mississippi, played a small role in molding someone into not only a master at her craft but into a kinder person.
*So Lisa, I am giving you your flowers and showing you gratitude for making me proud of you and for making me feel that my words to you resonated and made a difference.
*Bethany, I am showing you gratitude for being that person who isn’t afraid to share with the world your struggles with raw and pure emotion and honesty and allowing us to celebrate your victories and milestones and sharing that beautiful baby girl with us. I know you, like us all, are a work in progress, but it’s clear GOD has his hands on you. It’s so nice to be there to watch you continue to evolve. You are a wonderful person and a woman of GOD, and I love you. Smell the flowers!!
*and God, I try to show you gratitude daily by praying, reading your word and being an elevator person to others instead of a basement person. Thank you for looking past my faults and seeing my needs. Thank you for your Grace and Mercy (or as momma would say “thank you for dem old twins — Grace & Mercy”), they are new everyday. I love you Lord, I have your flowers, and I know one day you will call me home to heaven, and I will be there with a big bouquet saying,”Here I am Lord; smell your flowers!”
LaTresha Woodruff Johnson