Love and the Two-Dollar Orchid

Love and the Two-Dollar Orchid

The sign read $2.00, tagging a collection of plants on the floral shop floor as practically worthless. Tucked behind a disheveled palm and a kalanchoe was a black pot holding a very spindly-looking plant. Although the wrap was gone, the plant leaves still surrounded the the bare stem and the small bamboo pole that held it erect.  I recognized this neglected plant  and could scarcely believe that it was priced so cheaply.

” It’s an orchid!” I exclaimed. My husband, Marc, does not share my excitement over exotic house plants and his expression grew skeptical as I described a vision of creamy blossoms arching over deep green leaves. But he appreciates that I’m a woman thrilled by bargains, plants and unseen possibilities. Good-naturedly,  he waited as I approached the store attendant.

 “How much?”  I asked, trying not sound too interested.

“Two dollars” she replied with a nod toward the sign.

“Two dollars! What’s wrong with it?” 

 She shrugged her thin shoulders “Dunno.”

Suspicious and thinking there must be a reason for such a low price, I lifted the thick leaves and looked for signs of disease or even (yuck!) bugs. But nothing marred their surface. Then I studied the spindly stem and found three tiny nubs. 

“I’ll take it!  It’s healthy just not blooming. ” 

 I brought my precious orchid home.  Placing it near the only other orchid I’ve ever owned, I told them, “There! You are together, now!  Help each other bloom!

Faith, Hope and the Air We Breathe

 During the next three months, I nurtured the new plant keeping it in filtered light, watering  it sparingly, feeding it with special orchid food and even leaning close to the buds to speak words of encouragement. I believed it a fair exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen.  Almost imperceptibly, the nubs grew into teardrop shaped buds.  

 Although I looked for my orchid to bloom, first for our wedding anniversary and then my husband’s birthday, both dates came and went with the little buds hugging their stem and keeping to themselves. ” It’s okay,” I crooned in my best breathy voice. “You’ll come out when you’re ready.”

Then  a single bud began developing ahead of the others. Delighted, I noted how it grew  and ballooned into a light green pod. Every day I looked for the pod to open wondering what color it would become.  Then one morning a beautiful ivory flower greeted me.  Its petals fully open and flung wide as arms. It seemed to cry from its scarlet throat, “I am here at last! ” I called to Marc, “Come see! Our little orchid is blooming!”

Although I studied  its siblings already plump and ready to flower,  I was no longer anxious.  My vision of creamy orchids on an arching stem was coming true. As the days went by we did have three lovely flowers glowing in the morning light. They stayed with us over many weeks. What a testament to the way God has placed beauty in each and every life even when it has been abandoned and tucked away in an unlikely place. 

 My husband, although still prone to skepticism, remains good-natured about my passion for bargains and possibilities. Like the orchids, we are well-planted and happy in each other’s company. God has blessed me with the grace of Marc’s love and he holds all I need for blooming.

You are precious in His sight.

February is the month to celebrate the ones you love and the life God has given you to share.   Just as I told the orchids, “Help each other bloom!”  You’ll be surprised!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Photographs by Marc Greenberg


About the Author

Sharon Tomko Greenberg is the executive administrative assistant at Franciscan Media. She and her husband are active catechists in their parish RCIA program and on the presenting team of the Cana II program for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati Family Life Office.