Sunday, November 25, 2012

Roses remind me of you

Roses are considered romantic in a lot of situations. I think they're really quite amazing. Sure, they're beautiful and they smell lovely, and everybody wants some because they're super special. But there's so much more to a rose than that. That's why they remind me of you.

You see, I'm pretty much the opposite of a gardener. If there were an award for "most plants killed" I just might win it. I overwater, or underwater, or forget to take them in.

However, for the second time in my life I have found myself with a rather beautiful set of rose plants in my care. For some reason, roses don't *actually* take much maintenance. Pull the weeds sometimes, cut off the flowers so they'll grow more, and that's about it.

I'm sure some master gardener out there will disagree with me. But the fact is: I have yet to kill a rose plant. And that's really saying something!

Roses are sturdy. Yes, they're beautiful. They're a pleasure to look at - like you. But there's more to them. Rose tea is actually quite tasty and (I hear) good for the digestion. Roses can survive any kind of weather - from the scorching heat of two summers ago to the freezing ice storm last year brought us, with little sunlight or with lots of it. And even when they're a little messed up, when they're discolored or a little ripped or chewed, they always draw the eye. People want to hang out, if even for just a minute, around roses. Just, I might add, like you.

You may not realize it right now, but you are very much like the beautiful roses that have flourished in my care. You've gone through a period of neglect, where people may have stopped to admire your beauty but nobody really took care of you - something these roses have gone through for many years before I moved in. You may be going through some painful things right now, a process where parts of your life are being cut away - pruned, if you will. And I know that sometimes it can feel like life is beating you down like that ice storm beat these poor roses last winter. But the roses survived the neglect, and the pruning and the storm both did very good things for these roses and it will for you too.

The pruning took the old growth away so that new growth could come in. The old growth was beautiful! It was a gorgeous set of a few almost perfect-looking roses. But if I hadn't cut those flowers off, if I hadn't taken those beautiful petals off of the plant, they would have been the only roses that plant could produce all year. Instead, I pruned away the growth again and again until a plant that only had three roses had one final yield for the year of almost twenty!

You're in a time right now where some things are being pruned away. It hurts, because the things you're losing are things you were very attached to, beautiful and wonderful things you don't want to let go of. But God, the Master Gardener of our hearts, knows what he's doing better than I even know what to do with these roses. This time of pruning will eventually be something you'll be able to look back on as a reason you're flourishing so well.

The ice storm made these roses stronger. They wove themselves together, each branch of the plant leaning toward the other where they used to be growing apart and away from each other. Now, many of the parts of this plant are intertwined. Storms do that to people, too. The storms of life make us lean in toward each other and toward God, wrapping ourselves around the people who love and support us because we come to a realization that we can't do it on our own anymore.

Yes, you are very much like these roses: Beautiful, strong, but with so much more growing to do and so much more potential to realize. I'm looking forward to watching it happen.

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