After finishing her online class for school, Zahra went to her favorite place in the apartment: the patio. It was a lovely and cosy place with two outdoor chairs and a small table.
Zahra had two flower plants in her special place, one is a Lily-of-the-Nile or an African Lily plant, and the other, a Hebe plant. She had these two plants located in the most shaded area of the patio. When they bloomed, both of the plants had beautiful violet flowers. She loved the color violet; it was her most favorite color. Stepping out onto the patio today, she felt the same feeling of love, compassion and unity she always did when in this space.
Zahra was a 7-year-old girl, with a skinny frame and beautiful skin the color of chocolate. She lived with her mom and dad in a small, but lovely garden (ground floor) apartment in Los Angeles. Since the pandemic broke out in Los Angeles and all of the United States, the entire city had shut down in order to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
For more than two months, Zahra hadn’t seen her best friend Daisy. They would Facetime each other from time to time, but they couldn’t go outside or visit each other. The only friends she had to support her were Hope and Kala.
Zahra took a small jar and began to water the plants. Just then Hope flew up, circling the patio for seconds before landing on the Hebe plant. She loved the shaded area.
Hope was a little bee — calm, positive and wise. She worked hard with the other bees of her hive to produce honey. Hope’s beehive was located in an empty house not far from Zahra’s apartment.
“Why didn’t you show up yesterday?” Zahra asked Hope.
“Oh dear! You don’t know what happened! ” exclaimed Hope.
“You know the empty house where we built our beehive?”
“Yesterday the owner came, along with his family, to quarantine in their house. They cleaned up inside and outside and, regrettably, wiped out our beehive.”
“Ohhh no! I’m so sorry to hear that?”
“It’s okay, God will help us to find a better place.”
“Yeah, you are right. God is the greatest! I ask God every day to give us a good and healthy life.”
“When I think of God, I forget my worries.”
“I hope I can be calm like you,” Zahra said to Hope.
“You can, just do not think about the bad things and always be positive.”
“Bad news, bad news, bad news!” little Kala screamed and shouted from far away. She quickly approached, hovering over them before finally landing on the top of a cup that had been set on the small table.
Kala was a little panic fly, and she was the exact opposite of Hope – pessimistic, often confused, and terrified of everything.
“What happened?” Zahra asked.
“Are you okay?” little Hope said in a calm voice.
“It’s terrible news! They cleaned up the dumpster I used to eat from. They are sanitizing the whole city because of the pandemic,” Kala said sadly.
“That is not bad, it is a good thing.” Zahra said.
“You can eat from other, cleaner places than that one,” said little Hope.
“I liked eating from that one,” sighed Kala, “It was behind a restaurant and my favorite place to eat.”
The three kept discussing their concerns trying to find solutions for each other.
Little Zahra missed her friend Daisy and wanted to see her badly, little Hope had to find her bee colony a new place to live, and little Kala had to find another place to eat from. The three friends finished their gathering and planned to meet the next day.
“Zahra, where have you been?” asked her mom, when Zahra appeared in the living room.
“I was out on the patio, mama,” replied Zahra.
“Did you do your homework, honey?”
“Yes, mama, I did.”
Zahra went to her room, but her mind was still on her friend Daisy, and finding solutions for her two little friends.
The next day, Zahra finished her online school class quickly, went to her special place to wait for her friends, and took care of her two plants until Hope showed up. She always arrived before Kala.
Hope slowly settled into her favorite place, said “Hi” to little Zahra, and then sat silently.
“You look tired,” Zahra said to her.
“We were searching and searching for a place for a long time.”
“Did you find something?”
“Not yet, but we will keep searching until we find the right place.”
“I’m sorry, I wish I could help you.”
“You did help me when you listened to my problem, and every problem has a solution.”
“How do the other bees feel?”
“We are all feeling a little sad, but we’re hopeful, thank God.”
Just then, they heard little Kala yelling, “I feel bad, I feel bad, I feel bad.”
She came in and laid on the plant opposite Hope.
“Why do you feel bad?” asked Hope.
“I didn’t have good food,” replied Kala.
“Did you have any food today?” asked Zahra.
“I did,” replied Kala.
“That is a good thing,” said Hope.
“But I didn’t like it. The dumpster I found is near the fish market. It is not the same as I’m used to,” said Kala.
“With time you will adapt to it and like it,” said Zahra.
“It’ll take too long a time for me to adapt,” said Kala.
“Days will pass quickly,” said Hope. We are in an emergency period, so we have to accept different things.”
Kala shook her head and tried to change the subject, “How is your school friend, Zahra? Did you Facetime her today?”
“I did, but her phone is out of service.” Zahra said sadly.
“Poor Zahra, I’m worried maybe she forgot you or maybe she died of COVID-19,” said Kala.
“Kala don’t say that! Don’t worry, Zahra. Tomorrow will be a good day. Tomorrow you will get good news,” said Hope.
“But what if she doesn’t call her back,” asked Kala.
“Let’s think positively, Kala. We can wait a few days and see,” said Hope.
The three left the meeting on that positive note from Hope.
However, Kala’s words had etched their way into little Zahra’s heart and she was so worried about her friend Daisy that she refused to eat dinner. Noting Zahra’s mood at dinner, her mom went to her room to check on her.
“Why are you sad, sweetheart,” asked Zahra’s mom while pulling her in for a warm hug.
“Daisy hasn’t been answering my Facetime calls, mama, and lately her phone has been out of service.”
“Don’t worry, honey, maybe they are busy.”
“I hope nothing bad has happened to her.”
Zahra’s mom walked Zahra back to the dining room.
“Come, eat dinner with me and your dad,” she encouraged. Zahra ate something and got a big hug from her dad before heading back to her room and falling asleep.
The next day when Zahra went out to the patio, she found little Hope reclined on her favorite plant, her eyes closed.
“Are you sleeping, honey,” whispered little Zahra.
Hope opened her eyes slowly and said “No, I’m just exhausted.”
“Any new news?”
“Nothing new, we are still looking, but thank God we are all still okay for now.”
“Storm . . . storm . . . storm,” Kala was screaming with fright and horror.
Both Zahra and Hope were shocked by the sudden appearance of Kala and kept silent, waiting until she settled on her usual plant.
“The sky is too dark towards the west; I think there’s a storm coming soon,” said Kala as she tried to catch her breath. “Guys, we have to find a place to hide and…”
Before she finished her sentence a strong wind moved around them. The three of them immediately huddled together. As the wind tried to push them apart, they held each other tightly, and as the wind grew stronger and stronger, they held on even more tightly.
Kala began yelling, “We are going to die.” She was now weeping and screaming, “I don’t want to die.”
“We will survive,” said Hope in a calm voice. “Don’t panic, Kala.”
“God will save us, guys,” said Zahra while still holding onto her two friends.
The storm lasted for less than five minutes, but the three friends were unable to withstand its fury and lost hold of one another.
After the wind was gone, Zahra found herself on the floor by the small table. She stood up slowly, adjusted her clothes, then called out in a shaky voice, “Hope! Kala! Are you okay?”
“I’m okay,” said Hope, emerging from under the right corner of the patio table.
“Kala . . . Kala,” called Zahra and Hope, but no answer.
They got worried about their friend and frantically started looking for her under and around the furniture. They found her on the floor under one of the two chairs.
Kala was unconscious. Zahra picked her up gently and set Kala on her favorite plant. After a while, she regained consciousness, but unfortunately, her left wing was broken. She was in a lot of pain and now felt extremely frustrated, because she wouldn’t be able to fly for weeks. Zahra and Hope made a place for her to live on the patio and they took turns caring for her.
After two weeks, Kala was finally able to fly again. Although she still felt a little pain, her wing was able to move normally.
“How are you, Kala,” asked Zahra.
“I’m much better, thank God,” said Kala.
“I’m glad you are better,” said Hope. “You had us really worried.”
Kala responded to Hope. “I know. I was worried too. Thank you for taking such good care of me. I realize now that things aren’t always as bad as I think, and everything that comes from God is good, so we should accept it instead of complaining as much as I do. We have to see the positivity and recognize that everything happens for a reason.”
“Amen!” said Zahra and Hope together while looking at each other in shock.
“Zahra, I have good news from your friend, Daisy,” said Hope.
Zahra jumped up and down happily. “Tell me quickly.”
“Before I came here, I flew over near her house and I saw them going inside the garage. I waited until they got out of the car and then I asked her how she was doing. She told me that she is good, that they went out of town, and she forgot her phone in their apartment.”
“Thank God, she is fine,” said Zahra.
“Yeah, she said she will call you.”
“I’m happy she is okay; I was very worried about her.”
“Do you like your new place?” Kala asked Hope.
“Yes, we are lucky we found a good place. Sometimes, you are forced to make changes only to find out it was the best thing that could have happened to you,” said Hope.
“Is the new place better than the old one, Hope?” asked Zahra.
“Yes, it’s at the top of a hill. We like it. It is a permanent place and special,” replied Hope. “We put in a lot of thought and effort. We were forced to go out of our comfort zone. Sometimes if you don’t notice the signs that change is needed then a time may come when you will be forced to make that change without warning.”
“Yes, we have to accept change. It might take a while to adapt, but we can do it,” said Kala.
“You are right, guys,” said Hope.
Then all of them said in one voice, “Yes we can do it—accept change and adapt.”