Every week we work with local charities, delivering donations of food and clothing. For a while, among these donations we also received flowers. Not just a few flowers either—hundreds of bouquets of flowers!

I remember grumbling a few times about having to pick up the flowers. They came in buckets of water that, even though we tried to empty the buckets before loading them, would tip over and wet the carpet of the vehicle. Sometimes, after loading the food donations, it was a struggle to find space for the flowers as well.

“Besides, you can’t eat the flowers! They wilt, and they don’t last more than a few days! They’re unnecessary extras!” were a few of my mental grumbles verbalized.

Eventually the donated bouquets of flowers became sporadic, not a regular occurrence.

Recently I was delivering food at one of the food pantries we work with. I was waiting for one of their volunteers to help me unload, and in the meantime, I was watching a cheerful elderly woman and her funny antics. She was obviously a regular visitor to the food pantry because she talked freely with everyone and seemed to know them all by name.

After a while, she came outside and struck up a conversation with me. She expressed her appreciation for the help she received from the organization since her pension did not cover all her bills. Then her eyes took on a wistful expression as she said, “Did you know they used to give everyone flowers?! A bouquet for each person. Oh, they were beautiful!”

Then she was called in and our brief conversation left me feeling a pang of guilt. She had no idea that we were the ones who brought the flowers! It struck me that sometimes it’s those little “unnecessary, extra things” that really touch people. All this time while I was complaining, the Lord was using those flowers to show this woman, and others, that not only was He taking care of them, but that He really cared about them!

Now I have no complaints if flowers are among the items we pick up; sometimes I even ask for them! The flowers remind me of the wistful look on that woman’s face, and I pray that she gets her bouquet.