When Wisdom Speaks Through Roses

Originally published Monday, 13 February 2017.

Jesse A. Currey was a rose planter endowed by keen foresight. He knew endangered beauty merited protection. The year was 1917—Europe was caught in the dregs of war. Cultivating roses was far from the minds of worried citizens. So Currey devised a plan: he asked international horticulturalists to send him their roses. Had it not been for Currey’s ingenuity, many of those hybridized roses would not have survived.

I got to walk that 100-year-old rose garden. Seeds of germinated beauty aroused me to wonder. All Ablaze. Bolero. Eden—raw olfactory awakenings emitting glory.

“I feel like crying,” my youngest daughter revealed as she sampled varied bouquets.

How could a single fragrant rose evoke a strong-willed teenager to tears?

“You’ve got to smell this one, Mom,” my older girl chimed in.

I dipped my nose into the heart of an orange-colored rose outlined in deep fuchsia. Immediately, I was enveloped by peace as if I’d encountered the fragrance of God.

A crème-yellow rose piqued my interest—Full Moon Rising was her name. I couldn’t escape its beauty. And then that rose gave me a piece of her petal-layered mind.

Don’t #rush so much, Daughter. Take time away from your frenzied life. Breath.”

Those dew-colored lovelies beckoned us to wonder, invoking other-worldly calm. And I realized cultivated beauty had to be relished. But grey storm clouds soon billowed above, as if vying for our attention.

We rushed out of the rose garden before the downpour—awestruck nonetheless.

Altered by a quiet miracle. 

Recently, I arrived home, exhausted from work demands, overwhelmed by the housework which awaited. A solitary orange rose lay on the kitchen counter. My daughter had found it on the ground while walking home from school. I pressed my nose against it, inhaled deeply, and smiled.

Its subtle perfume reminded me of my walk through Portland’s rose garden. I thought of the quiet corner I had found—away from other tourists. I’d closed my eyes to rest beside a fragrant Tea Rose bush.  Was God telling me to slow down…to be still?

As the days passed, my kitchen rose drooped and withered. She lost her fragrance because she was no longer connected to her life-giving vine.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. {John 15:5, NIV}

I too forget about the importance of leaning into my True Vine. I listen to career demands instead of listening to the whispers my tired mind and body give me.

In the midst of your hustle and bustle, do you forget to unwind?

The Northern winds will soon bring frost. Time will leave us with more dark than day. Yet, roses are wise—they instinctively know it’s time to rest when cold weather comes.

By lying dormant for a season, they are able to preserve their fragrant beauty.

Perhaps our Master Gardener is inviting us to do the same.