Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Stop and Smell the Roses

Most that know me know that I tell lots of funny stories. Well, some people think they're funny. This one is true. Take from it what you will.

You have probably heard of St. Therese of Lisieux aka "The Little Flower". It's said that when one asks for her help in prayer that they or the person they are praying for will, as an acknowledgment that the prayers have been heard, in some way come in contact with roses. St. Therese has been quoted as saying...

"I will let fall a shower of roses. I will spend my heaven, doing good on earth."

In the winter of 1991 I thought my life sucked. I had had my first heart attack two years earlier, my business was going nowhere, we we're broke, my marriage was shaky, my infant son was not well, throwing up everything he ate, and so far, it had been a cold winter. Seeing all this, my mother-in-law, without my or my wife's knowledge, began a nine day long prayer, called a novena, to St. Therese on our behalf. Remember, no one other than my mother-in-law is aware that this prayer has begun. On Jackie's birthday, Dec 30th I sent her flowers...a dozen red roses. My aunt Laura also sent her flowers...a dozen white roses. This is where it gets interesting. Several days later, a winter storm dumped about 6 to 10 inches snow on the ground. I was trudging through it to the shed in our backyard to get a snow shovel when I smelled them. So sweet and strong I stopped dead in my tracks to see every one of the rose bushes we had planted the previous spring in full bloom! The red, pink, a peach colors of the petals and the green of the leaves a shocking contrast to the pure white of the snow that surrounded them. I called Jackie out of the house and we both just stood there in amazement. It is without a doubt one of the most surreal things I have ever seen. When Jackie called her mom to tell her, she responded flatly "I'm not surprised, I've been saying a novena to St. Therese for you guys". Did it work? Well, we'll be married 20 years in October. RMS is expanding again after more than 20 years in business. My Son? A senior at Shrine of the Little Flower High School (yeah, same saint) and doing just fine thank you. And I became Catholic a year later in 1992, (I think my mother-in-law sneaked that prayer in) and we are parishioners at the National Shrine of the Little Flower in Royal Oak. And the story goes on...

A few weeks ago, Jackie passed a kidney stone (ouch). She had several tests that also revealed a 3.5 cm mass on her kidney. Without telling me or anyone else she began the novena. On Friday, before the dreaded appointment with the surgeon, she received 4 dozen beautiful roses from my staff (thanks ever so much, guys). The prognosis? Excellent. While about 80 percent of these tumors are malignant, this one was caught early, is small enough to be removed using robotics and very small incisions. No chemo, no radiation and she gets to keep her kidney. As I say, take from it what you will. Thank you, St. Therese.

The Mound