Once there was a woman who got so very depressed she stopped taking care of her little garden and then her house and eventually even her self. The more things piled up around her, the more tired and discouraged she got and the harder it became for her to even imagine making herself some tea or clearing a path through the clutter of her own belongings. She sat in her chair and pondered, sinking deeper into a morass.
One day a child walking by her house noticed one single rose clinging to the vine near the gate and wondered where the lady was that she had often seen in the garden. There had been such lovely flowers blooming on the fence.
The next day the child picked some roses in her family's garden and approached the woman's door. She knocked. She waited listening. All was quiet. She knocked again. The woman inside could not imagine who was at her door. She didn't really care who it was. She wouldn't let anyone in.
The child knocked, very gently, one more time. Something stirred in the woman. She rose and made her way to the door. The child stood with the flowers in her fist and offered them up without a word.
The woman took the flowers. "They need water," the little girl said. She smiled and turned and skipped out of the gate.
The woman stood at the door and saw the rose vine withering on the fence. When had she last watered?
She took the flowers inside and went to find a vase. The vase was dirty, but she held it in the water and washed it carefully. Gently, she made sure the stem of each flower reached down into the water. She took the flowers to the table. The table was a clutter of papers and dirty dishes. One by one she set things away and wiped the table clean.
She set the flowers in the center and sat quietly for a moment admiring the gift of the child. Then she rose and walked out to the parched garden and watered the hardy plants that had hung on through the drought of her heart. Perhaps tomorrow, she thought, she might sit on the porch a bit. If the child passes by, she could say "thank you."