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When The Willows Weep
 adds a touch of whimsy, wonder and hope to a deep-rooted reality. A reality that, all too often, many of today's children live in bondage due to the burdens of the adults in their lives, by carrying the weight of those burdens upon their own tiny shoulders.

Let us not cast our burdens upon the children, but instead upon the Lord... for His yoke is easy and His burden is light. 

Let our hands be the "Hands of God" at every possible opportunity, to uplift the children of God, regardless of age... for in doing so, we may help one less willow weep in the valley.

The picture of Leona and Sonny below is an actual photo of my mother, Leona and her brother, Stanley (Sonny) in or about 1945.

This story is dedicated to four very special little girls; Michaela, Shondria, Pooh, and Kiki... whom I love to see smile!


Written by: Barbara Ann Hall

Once, when I was down in the valley, I heard a cry on the wind. It sounded so sad, so lonely. I looked around expecting to find a lost child or perhaps even a stray lamb, but found none. Again, I heard the cry and looked around. The tall grass of the valley, spotted with wild flowers, blew gently all around me and the vines that hung from the branches of the willow trees hung low and swayed gently in the breeze as if silently weeping.

I often came to the valley, with easel and canvas in hand, to paint and enjoy its' peaceful and breathtaking beauty. However, this particular day, it felt sad. At that thought, again, I heard the cry. I laid my brush upon my pallet and set it down in the tall grass beside me. “It’s not possible,” I whispered aloud.

I slowly walked over to one of the willow trees standing alongside the river’s bank and tenderly ran my fingers down several of its' long vines. They were damp, creating an illusion in my mind of fallen tears. Were the willows weeping?  Surely not, I reasoned. The cry was only the wind whistling through the valley and the tears only moisture from the morning dew.

I went back to work on my painting, adding a willow tree along the scene of the river’s bank. I added a few final touches to the rays of sunlight throughout the oil painting, lifting them from the canvas’s surface. Then I strategically painted myself into the picture. Standing there in the valley, beside the willow tree in front of my easel, carefully critiquing my work, with brush in hand ready to add its next stroke of color.

I gathered my supplies together, faced my freshly painted creation towards the wind to dry, then sat down on the edge of the river and dangled my feet in the cool water. As the wind blew through my hair, it helped to mesmerize me with each ripple of the water.

I spread out a blanket on a soft bed of grass, and then lay upon it staring up at the morning sky. The day was so pretty. I thanked God for it and prayed for Him to lead me through it. For me to be ready to do His will at all times. I don’t think it was long before I was sleeping peacefully along the river’s bank under His beautiful heavens.

As I slept I heard the cries draw nearer, sending chills down my spine. I sat up and looked around. There! Beneath the willow was a beautiful little girl with auburn curls!

“Shush,” she whispered softly, covering one little chubby finger over her beautiful rosy lips as she looked directly into my eyes. Her eyes were as deep and blue as the sky, but filled with an eerie sadness, as dark clouds affect the bluest of skies. She wore a delicate, white eyelet dress embroidered with little pink rosebuds. What a beautiful child, I thought to myself.

But, where did she come from? Why was she sad? And what was the need for silence? I wanted to speak, but her stare was so intense and her little finger never left her lips. So, I remained silent. Again, I heard the cries, sending chills down my spine! The little girl’s eyes deepened with sadness as she looked around.

 “Come!” She said, reaching out her chubby little hand. When her fingers touched mine, I felt my heart fill with sorrow. She glanced up at me, with a look of understanding. Then she silently led me several feet along the river’s edge towards the willows.

“Listen.” She whispered. “The willows are weeping. Look. See their tears, as wet as the morning dew.” I looked at the child, her eyes now filled with tears. “Why are you unhappy child?” I asked her. “I am always unhappy when the willows weep.” She cried.

“Why do the willows weep?” I asked with great curiosity. “Because they feel the pain of this world. Every sorrow. Every sin. And when the willows weep, I and my brother, and the other children feel their sorrow.” “Where are the others?” I asked her. She pointed toward the trees, “They are there, amongst the willows.”

“Who are you?” I asked the beautiful little girl. “I am Leona, and my brother is Sonny. There are many other children here also.” “Are you here alone?” I asked with great concern. “No, we are never alone.” She said.

Then Leona told me that she knew who I was. “You are Barbara, God’s special helper. Because of you and people like you, one less willow cries in the valley.” I marveled at her wisdom. “How do you know who I am?” I asked the child. “Because you come to the valley often. We hear you pray to God our Father to guide you in His will. To help you help the people who need to be reassured of His love and forgiveness. People who need to learn to look up to Him.”

 “Are you one of those people Leona?” The child looked into my eyes. “No. I, like you, are here to help the willows.” As she spoke, I again felt her sadness fill my heart, “Am I suppose to feel your sadness?” I asked her. “Only when the willows weep... when the willows weep… when the willows weep...”

“Only when the willows weep.” I heard myself say as I opened my eyes. The clouds where moving swiftly through the blue skies. Was it only a dream? I thought of Leona, I could see her beautiful blue eyes and her auburn curls blowing in the wind. I could feel her little chubby hand in mine, and I could feel the sorrow of her heart. I closed my eyes.

I prayed, “Father, bless the children. Shelter them from the sorrows of this world. For their little hands are your hands here on earth. They stand ready to do your will. Keep their hearts pure and untroubled. Please Father, shelter them in the palm of your hand when the willows weep.”

I thought of all the people in this world, who because they live in darkness, cast their burdens upon their children. “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.”

I studied the picture I had painted earlier, took out my pallet and brushes and added extra strokes of sunlight to the willow tree; to dry away its tears. Then I painted two children, Leona and Sonny, sitting beneath it with radiant smiles as I painted them forever happy into the memory of my heart.

As I walked home, I thanked God for his bountiful mercy and grace and for the great joy that fills our hearts when we know and love Him. I prayed for Him to keep our hearts pure, as those of His children, who even in times of great sorrow, continue to love Him and one another unconditionally. And I asked Him to continue to put people in my path who need the touch of His hands here on earth and for my hands to be as comforting to them as Leona’s little hand was in mine.