Saturday, March 12, 2011

Night-Blooming Jasmine and Mothers

Friday night I walked out of LAX airport and was immediately overwhelmed with the fragrance of night-blooming jasmine.  It is without a doubt one of the sweetest smells that has ever invaded my nose.  It is an amazing plant to me.  It takes over the air and it seems that you are walking in an invisible forest of night-blooming jasmine.  You have no idea where this plant is or what it looks like, but you know it's there.  During the day, you forget about it  because it only calls on your senses during the night hours.  As we unloaded my luggage from the car, there it was again, filling the night air around our apartment.  I found myself sticking my head out the screen less windows of our apartment before falling into bed at 3AM Milwaukee time, just so I could take a little bit of it to bed with me.

At 4:30AM California time, my phone started singing Mamma Mia.  This is my mother's ring song.  I tried to ignore it because I thought maybe my mom had just forgotten that we are 3 hours behind her time zone.  But Mamma Mia was insistent and I soon realized that my mama was really trying to get in touch with me regardless of the time zone.  I stumbled around in the dark looking for my phone and when the call finally connected, of course my first question was, "What's wrong?"  My dear blessed guardian angel mother was calling to tell me about the earthquake in Japan and the aftermath of the tsunami.  The morning news in Indiana was reporting that the tsunami was going to hit California and of course my mother's advise was to get in the car and start driving east.

After trying to assure my mother that the ten miles between our apartment and the Santa Monica beach would keep us safe, I decided to go back to bed.  I did say a little prayer that the weather men were overreacting because I don't know how to swim.  About an hour later, the phone started singing Defying Gravity from Wicked, my specially selected ring song for my oldest daughter.  Is this not the most fantastic ring song selection for my daughter who defies gravity everyday with her two sets of twins!  I answered almost immediately because I knew Brittany was calling to give me the tsunami warning too.  This time I decided to get up and again assure another member of my family that we are on high ground and safe.  I went into the living room and opened the window to see if I could get one more whiff of the night-blooming jasmine but dawn was just starting to break and no matter how deeply I breathed, I couldn't catch it's fragrance.  But I knew it was still out there, just waiting for night fall when it would remind me again of it's existence.

Mother/Daughter love is setting my heart to leap today.  We usually describe it by saying words like unconditional but the descriptor that overwhelms me today is abiding. I am turning 57 next week and my mother's abiding love still never ceases to amaze me.  For 57 years, I have been blessed to experience this amazing love that is enduring, unceasing and not afraid to wake me up at 4:30 in the morning so that I can get to safety.  My mother's abiding love feeds me and gives me strength.  It envelopes me just like the sweet smell of the jasmine and just like the jasmine, I tend to forget about it during my busy day.

After surviving the tsunami scare, Greg took me to see LA Broadway's version of Beauty and the Beast. As we were walking in, there was a mother of twins in front of us.  She was directing her two little blond-haired beauties through the crowd.  They were decked out in their yellow Belle dresses and watching them walk into the theater, I'm sure they felt like little princesses and the most important people in the world, and it was obvious that they were, in the eyes of their mother.  They don't understand yet what a mother's abiding love is all about, but someday, they will.

On the drive home, Greg and I shared some sweet laughter about the tsunami scare and my mother's early morning phone call and were once again surrounded by the sweet fragrance of the night-blooming jasmine.

"The fragrance of flowers spreads only in the direction of the wind.
But the goodness of a person spreads in all directions."
-Chanakya  (Indian politician, strategist, and writer)
Night-blooming Jasmine.  Scroll down for a great music video.

A little more about abiding . . . while it might seem a little strange to think about Elton John singing a hymn, here's a link to his performance of one of my very favorite hymns, Abide with Me.  The hymn was written by a Scotsman, Henry Francis Lyte, in 1847 as he lay dying from tuberculosis.  He only lived three more weeks after he wrote the hymn.      Elton John singing the hymn "Abide With Me"

1 comment:

  1. It's so funny to me that you and Greg just don't panic about anything! It's like "Oh, tsunami? Oh, yeah, I heard something about that. Well we have theatre tickets, so I'm sure it'll be fine." You're so funny! Love you guys and I'm glad that you're alright! Call me when you get back to Milwaukee.