Friday, December 5, 2014
"That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." — William Shakespeare
Funny thing about roses, they bloom without any regard for the circumstances of the people who see them or smell their sweet fragrance. They also bloom even if unseen or unsmelt. In his “Elegy Written in a Country Church-Yard” Thomas Gray writes, “Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, And waste its sweetness on the desert air.” Roses also have thorns prompting this quote by Alphonse Karr, "Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have roses." Roses have the simple job of blooming, no matter where they are, who sees them, or if they are picked, packaged and delivered to announce the love someone feels for another. Their task is simple: bloom. It is also our task. We are not asked to cause someone to fall in love with another or to bring our fragrance into a world of foul smells. We are asked to bloom. Of course we have thorns, we are imperfect creatures in an imperfect world subject to much temptation—temptation offered by the most creative minds advertising has to offer. Others sometimes get hurt by thorns we say or do or don’t say or don’t do, but it is not something we can really avoid. Psychologists frequently say that we don’t ever say something we didn’t really mean to say—we may not have meant to say it out loud, or in a sarcastic tone, or with the intention to do real hurt, but we say what we mean to say. It is who we are. We have thorns, but, we are also roses and can produce beautiful blossoms. We have the ability to bloom, to produce blossoms of incredible fragrance and beauty, and unlike the roses rooted to the ground, we can bloom in many places and even over the internet. We can carry the message if not the fragrance of a beautiful bloom over thousands of miles to bring a smile to the face of another—if we will but do so. We can bloom with a smile, with a heartfelt hug, with a sincere welcome to a stranger, with the gift of food to the hungry, clothes to the naked—you get the idea, it is the message of Christ who asks us, in spite of our thorns, to bloom and to bring beauty into an ugly world. It is in your power to be a rose today for someone else. Do it! Share the blossom of love and peace in this Advent season to your family, your friends, strangers, the homeless and the helpless. When people see the blossom, they do not remember the thorns, and that is God at work, for they do know their creator.