Recently I had the privilege of playing a small part in something really extraordinary.
I would like to introduce you to The Petals.
This is not just any group of women. They are special – very special indeed. What makes them remarkable is the fact that they are ordinary, everyday South African women who go out of their way to make a difference in the lives of others. They have a unique bond as they share a deep love and consideration for their fellow human beings – more especially those that are less fortunate. They are the most selfless, bighearted, generous group of ladies I have ever had the privilege of working with. They radiate the very essence of a woman. They are feminine, nurturing, caring, loving and beautiful – inside and outside.
Their name is so appropriate because a world without flowers would be desolate and soul-less. The world expresses its joy with its flowers and these ladies are the embodiment of flowers on Earth. Flowers feed the soul and they represent humanity deep in its roots – and they follow the light. Life isn’t worth anything if it doesn’t unite in something meaningful, just like the fragrant petals of a rose at the tip of a long, thin, thorny stem.
These women, The Petals, are true flowers – Earth Angels personified. Their kind and compassionate spirits change many lives and put other people’s excuses to shame because, despite being busy mothers, wives and career women themselves, they have chosen to give of their time, energy and talents to uplift the lives of those that are underprivileged.
Sometime in 2007, this special group of friends decided to put some money together for the needy, over a glass of wine at their monthly cooking lesson and get-together. They started by helping an old-age home – visiting and providing basic necessities like clothes, toiletries, blankets, hot water bottles and treats for the old folk.
Things just snowballed from there. They went from contributing a few rands at their tea parties to holding raffles, organizing Christmas parties and coordinating events for a few hundred people in order to raise funds.
The more they helped, the more fulfilled they felt and the more they wanted to do, to make a difference in the lives of others. They learned the most valuable lesson. The luxury of doing good surpasses every other personal enjoyment.
They have helped autistic children, abandoned babies, orphans, a lady with poor eyesight, a baby with spina bifida, a house of restoration for abused mothers and children and even helped to rehabilitate a prisoner and his family amongst many others. They have the unique ability to see the need and not the cause.
These women prove that giving is the very purpose of life and that it can be done in your spare time. If you really want to do something worthwhile, you can. If you have time to receive, then you have time to give. Energy abounds when you give of yourself.
I had the privilege of being the guest speaker at their latest fund-raising event recently. These ladies blew me away with their commitment and dedication. Wow! Wow! Wow!
One of the greatest pleasures I now know is that of giving to others. It is just such a pity I had to learn it by accident.
In a sense, giving to others should be the rent we pay for being. Should it not?
So, what are YOU doing for others?
Don’t you have an obligation to put something back into the world that gave you so much?
Stop. Look. See. Listen. Hear. Do. Give. Help. Make a difference. Just because you can.
The charity event arranged by the Petals was a wonderful example of how “faith in God is a kind of unstoppable power that enables ordinary men and women to accomplish extraordinary feats”. This quote comes from the daily devotion that I read on the morning of 14 August 2010. Imagine my surprise when I saw exactly the same quote on the Petals banner at the Brooklyn theatre. Yes the ladies were certainly committed and dedicated and their efforts have been rewarded.
Thank you for your talk. You shared so much of your journey with us and there was a message for every one of us. Most people can relate to the difficulties associated with the physical limitations that you described even if they do not understand all the frustration that you experience. But I wonder how many realised the personal growth that you have achieved both mentally and spiritually. And I say once again Tracy, Well done. May you rise above your difficulties like an eagle and soar.
Thank you, Brenda. So kind of you to leave such a lovely comment.
I liked reading this article very much, Tracy. The continuance of love in action really does (and should) flow from the micro-experience of what we go through in our individual lessons back out into the macro-river made of the needs of all other beings. It’s an important way for every one of us to achieve freedom from all forces that tend to imprison and keep us chair-bound, by habit or circumstance.
I love reading each new chapter in the story of your emancipation. As I take the meaning into my own heart, I grow more free too.
Thanks for your lovely comment Michael. 🙂
Thank you for an amazing article about us Petals and our special day, where you truly BLESSED us ladies with your presence,your story,your example to us all, of taking hold of life with all your means,giving it your all amidst your circumstances, and never losing sight of the JOYS and sparkle in every new day!!!!You are very special and I will always remember your beautiful SMILE!!! Bless you x
Thank you Renée. I really admire what you ladies are doing. Keep up the good work. May your lives be filled with the same joy and happiness that you put into the lives of others.
I know where you come from, and I know a little bit about giving, sharing, helping, etc. I don’t mind giving, sharing, helping, etc. I actually enjoy it, I like to feel I’m achieving something, making life worthwhile doing it and making a difference in someone’s life. I’ve recently come to realise I make a difference – sadly a very negative difference. That’s a sad story I would rather keep to myself.
I have a serious proviso about “help/give”: I want to know where my help is going. I’ve seen first-hand how help/aid is being skimmed, pilfered and yes, stolen.
So, I still help/give, but don’t shake a tin in front of my face with “Help the blind” on it, or try to sell me a ticket to “Help AIDS orphans”
Introduce me to someone needing help. He has to walk barefoot? OK, let’s go and buy shoes. He is hungry? I will buy him basic food. She needs tyres for her car because she has to drive to work and there’s no alternative? I will buy the tyres. Your kid needs specialist support or treatment? No problem. And no, it is NOT only about ‘essentials’ – there are other important things that also need help… Feeling human. Flowers. A treat.
Cynical? Yes. On the one side it makes the “help” more personal, which can also cause issues, but then again, I want to know where I make a difference…
There is one exception though – I donate blood.
Anton it doesn’t matter how you choose to give. What matters is that you do it. Besides, if you do your giving while you are living then you know exactly where it’s going.
Everyone can make a difference, some small, some big….
That’s so true, Carl.
Ahhh Tracy, it was worth the wait! 🙂
Thank you, Chris. Glad you enjoyed it!