Once upon a time, there was a beautiful Flower Shop. It was a small shop in a small town, owned independently by a sweet family – namely a young woman named Lily and her husband Jack. They were bright, peppy entrepreneurs, and their devotion to their small business was exceeded only by their devotion to Jesus Christ and the Christian faith. Lily had ordered hand-painted signs off etsy, etched in her favorite Bible verses, to adorn her Flower Shop. Their “open/close” sign proclaimed a cheerful “God Bless!” at the bottom. They even invited customers to attend church services with them on a fairly regular basis.
They were not shy about their faith, and furthermore they were not shy about arranging fabulous flowers.
One day Lily received a phone call from a prospective customer. The voice was that of a cheerful young lady, much like Lily’s own voice. “I have heard so many wonderful things about your shop,” the woman gushed. “My sister hired you to arrange flowers for her wedding last year.” Lily remembered the name, delighted to make a family connection. Lily invited the young woman and her fiancé to come into the shop sometime soon to discuss details and prices.
“I will tell her,” the woman replied excitedly. “In fact, Lara and I will see you around 3 this afternoon. Sound OK?”
Lily replied in the affirmative and hung up the telephone slowly.
Feeling torn, feeling unsure, Lily called Jack from the back room and discussed the gay couple who was coming to look at their flower shop. The gay couple who was planning to hire them for a gay wedding.
At 3pm sharp, the young couple arrived at the shop. Lily and Jack shook hands with Lara and with Simone, the young woman to whom Lily had spoken on the phone.
The pair of couples talked about pricing and the wedding budget.
They talked about themes, colors, and wedding gowns.
They talked about sizes, quantity, and all the different shades of orange.
They talked about many things, and it grew close to closing time.
“Lily, thank you so much for taking time out of your afternoon to chat with us,” said Simone, adjusting the shoulder strap of her purse in preparation to exit the shop. “I will be in touch.”
Lily smiled. “It was wonderful to meet you both.”
After shop proprietors shook hands again with Lara and Simone, Jack placed his arm around on the small of Lily’s back and nodded his affirmation to the pair. “Please continue to keep us updated. It sounds like it will be a really special ceremony.”
Lara smiled excitedly and caught eyes with Simone. “That’s our hope. It’s tough reconciling enough family and friends to make a wedding without too much… arguing, I guess. But I’m optimistic.”
Lily placed both her hands over Lara’s. “Well, please don’t hesitate to call even if you just need a friendly voice. I remember how stressful planning our wedding was.”
“And believe me,” said Jack, “Lily has been shoulder-to-cry-on and counselor to the girls around here just as often as she’s arranged flowers for their weddings.”
Simone and Lara chuckled, and Lara gave an appreciate squeeze to Lily’s hands. “That really means a lot. Thank you so much.”
As they turned toward the door, Simone turned back and asked one final question. “I take it you guys attend a church, right?” she said, gesturing with her eyes to the various indicators of Christianity sprinkled tastefully throughout the shop.
“We do,” said Lily, smiling, and told her the name. “Are you two looking for a home church?”
“Maybe,” said Simone. “Either way, we’d love to visit yours, if you’re representative members.”
“Let us know, for sure,” said Jack. “We’d love to take you sometime.”
Goodbyes were said. The bell caught the door on the way out. The clock read 5:03pm. Lily changed the sign from Open to Close.
[and, because of love without boundaries, two searching hearts were tugged from Closed to Open]