Outside my window reigns a jasmine bush, old weeps old, and in recent weeks, it has been generous in its pearly offerings. We never had a jasmine bush before. One night, years before, I had sat in the dark and wept in fear of someone who had a power over me that was wrong. As I sobbed, I heard a child sing me the opening lines to Yahweh, I know You are near…I lifted my head from the cloth held to my face and listened in earnestness for more of the hymn, but the singing did not go beyond the early lines. Instead, I slowly became aware of a subtle yet strong scent, gently weaving its way resolutely to me.
It was the scent of jasmines.
Nowhere near us did we have jasmines. Neither did any of our neighbours. And there was no mistaking it for anything else either. As I sat, breathing in deeply this fragrance, I forgot my tears, and a stillness took claim of my spirit.
I knew that young voice well.
And so I knew the breath of jasmines was a gift of love from an angel who did not want me to go the way of tears. I told my husband about the experience, and he listened carefully. One day, he brought home a cutting, and gave the jasmine a home in our flower bed right outside our window, that the angel may have a bower to sing from.
That little bush of white secrets speaks little but says a lot. In my every sadness, I have gazed out at it, and each time, it has gazed back solemnly, willing me to see a path other than tears. Many, many times it has gifted me with blooms just when nothing but ivorypearls would do. The jasmines spoke the language of my soul.
The day after one such prayer day by the jasmine bush was the horror of the Paris bombings of 2015 which took and shattered countless lives in the violet-tinged hours of evening rest.
From that day on, I began to love that sturdy bush with a deeper tenderness, for in its blooms, I learned the leading of the angel and of my heavenly Mother.
Just after Easter this year, I chanced upon an article on Our Lady of Tears, Syracuse, and from there, my spirit was inexplicably drawn to the recitation of the Chaplet of Tears. Yesterday, I missed my nightly Rosary. Then today, the 17th of May, upon waking up, I was determined to ‘replace’ it, so as not to go back to the pattern of old where the recitation slowly tapered off, borne on the back of some slothful tide of one excuse or another.
But oddly, settling to begin the Rosary, I found my spirit reaching for the Chaplet of Tears instead, so to the Chaplet, I yielded. Once done, I scurried about seeing to some chores before driving off to work.
It was then that I spied the fat jasmine bush. For a moment, the sight of its ivory burdens caught my breath. There were more white flowers than there were leaves! A sight never before seen. As I filled bowl after bowl of them, I wondered, Why? Why the profusion of blooms?
Perhaps it was a question that didn’t need asking. After all, greening and blooming were the workings of nature. Sometimes you had a few flowers. Sometimes a storm of them. Few or many, each to be loved and savoured, for I believe flowers are bloomed to soften the soul.
And yet, I couldn’t let go. Why? Why? Why so, so, so many?
It was hours later, in the scarfing of hot afternoon breezes that I saw the Marian feast of the day, 17th May ~ Feast of Our Lady of Tears, Spoleto. The Chaplet of Tears, the feast of Our Lady of Tears and the never before masses of snowy gems on a sturdy green bush, had all come together on a single day.
As I sit in the caressing wreath of the fragrance, I do not have any answers, but the question remains.
What does the burst of whites herald?