We have an abundance of Mary statues around here....an outdoor one who looks after our garden, a beautiful pearlescent one on our home altar, one in the dining room opposite a St. Joseph statue, two kitchen Madonnas in - appropriately enough - the kitchen, and a scattering of smaller ones in bedrooms.
Then there's the poor neglected Lady of Sorrows statue that's been sitting in my closet for ages. We used to have her out in out living room until Advent started one year. A sorrowful Mary just didn't fit with the season of Advent. Besides, I was going through the house trying to reduce excess where I could, and that statue had never been my favorite anyways. So I put her in my closet to keep her safe from little hands....and I guess I kind of forgot about her. Or perhaps I just haven't taken the time to figure out what to do with her.
I have a strict "no kids in my closet" rule, but ever since the kids discovered the statue in there a few months ago, I've allowed one exception - they are allowed to go in each morning while I have it open and give her a kiss. Stella often talks to me about why Mary is so sad.
Acting upon another sweet and holy inspiration, the kids have been occasionally picking flowers from the yard, and bring them in to give to the yellow Kitchen Madonna near the sink. I keep some mini vases next to her just for this purpose. Truth be told, it's a benefit to myself as well, since I enjoy having pretty fresh flowers to look at while I'm washing the endless dishes.
A couple weeks ago, Stella brought in a big orange day-lily. It was one of the first of the season, and I was looking forward to displaying it on my kitchen shelf. I started filling one of the little vases, but Stella stopped me. "No, I want to give it to another Mary." I tried to convince her to give her flower to Mary in the dining room or Mary in the backyard.....somewhere public where we could all enjoy the beautiful flower. But Stella was insistent - she wanted to give the flower to the Mary in my closet. I told her the flower wouldn't do well just shut up in the dark, that no one would be able to see it in there, that I didn't want a vase of water spilling all over the carpet, and that we should really find a better place. "No," Stella answered, "I want to give it to Mary in your closet. To make her not sad anymore."
Of course, my heart just melted under the impact of such a pure and loving intention.
It's now become somewhat regular for Stella to bring a flower to "Mary in my closet" - gifts given completely unselfishly, entirely for the joy and honor of the recipient.