(This blog was written during COVID and someone forgot to post it. It still applies today!)
Once upon a time, there was an old lady — 62 at the time to be precise. She didn’t live in a shoe, but she should have.
During the pandemic months of 2020, she decided to take on an unpleasant gardening task. Her backyard had been overtaken with iris bulbs.
Now, this woman had an odd, sentimental attachment to irises because her grandmother loved them, and her aunts marvel over them every spring when they blossom in all their bearded rainbow-colored glory.
But ours had been neglected and were overtaken with weeds that detracted from their beauty.
Now, this old woman could never call herself a gardener. She did not inherit her mother’s, grandmothers’, aunts’, or sister’s green thumbs and she went at the iris removal job as a pure novice.
She got a small, handheld shovel and tried to dig out the bulbs. The puny little shovel could not do the job.
She decided to try a hoe –hacking at the dirt and trying to find the stubborn bulbs encrusted deep in the soil. The wimpy little tool could not do the job.
In desperation, she called her sister, a more seasoned gardener.
“How do I pull up iris bulbs? I tried a shovel and then a hoe and they won’t budge!” the old woman said.
Her sister laughed and said, “Oh, you can’t get those stubborn beasts out with a little shovel or hoe. You need a gardening claw.”
So, the old lady went into the garage and found the gardening claw — a tool she had never used, and then she went to work.
She spent days piercing the hard soil and twisting and wrenching those deep-rooted bulbs out of the soil.
She could be heard muttering, “I will never have irises again.”
The more she dug, the more she hated the irises.
And, day after day, her upper body became sorer and sorer. Her arm started to ache, and it never went away. It only got worse.
Finally, she went to the doctor and was shocked to learn that she had torn her rotator cuff and needed surgery — the kind of surgery that requires months of physical therapy and an entire year of recovery.
The woman had surgery, and boy, was it brutal. Then, she started physical therapy, and the word brutal felt right for that too.
(We’ll forget the part about how she got COVID during the shoulder recovery…)
Day after day, week after week, she went to physical therapy and did her daily exercises that produced groans and grunts of pain but led to gradual, miraculous movement — glorious stretching, reaching, grasping, and lifting.
Little wonderful improvements kept showing up that made her marvel. She started to drive again and realized her arm was comfortable on the steering wheel and she could shift gears again.
When she got out of the car, she nearly cried when she reached up to touch the button to close the garage, and she could reach it,
Then, she started going to the local swimming pool just to move her arms through the water. Then, she rejoiced the day she actually swam and her arms propelled her down a swim lane.
In a Namaste moment, she said a little prayer because she was so grateful to be able to do a simple downward-facing dog with Adrienne on YouTube,
The Parable of the Irises, like all good parables, teaches a moral lesson — the body, like our lives sometimes, can hurt, disappoint, and fail us. But, with work, patience, and time, we can mend and heal.
Sometimes, we have to lose, tear, or break things, and invest some time and energy into fixing them to learn to cherish and appreciate them a little more.
In this story, the old woman learned to appreciate the remarkable, intricate, and essential function of a shoulder.
She also learned not to mess with an iris.