If you have followed me on social media, you may have noticed most of my accounts have a yellow rose on their pages. It is a Floribunda named in honor of Julia Child. I took that photograph at the Antique Rose Emporium located just southwest of Independence, TX in Spring, 2017, and bought one to bring home with me right after that. I do not admire many public figures, but Julia is a rarity. Not just because she pursued her dreams and never let anyone tell her “no”; but also because she was a joyous, curious person who happened to be interested in the world around her. Though French cuisine may have been her first love, she certainly didn’t stop there.
I had an even more important reason for bringing that rose home with me, one which happens to be far more personal. Yellow, at least in Western cultures is the color of remembrance, and it’s my memorial to my mother. If you are interested in knowing why, I recommend you read the following post.
Sadly, I lost that rose by the end of last year due to a pernicious weed which escaped my control. In the process of trying to get rid of it, I ended up killing Julia. Yes, it made me very sad. Two months ago, I decided to get a replacement, but going to ARE was not possible at the time. Instead, I went to a Houston Garden Center while we ran some other errands. I couldn’t find Julia. However, I’m not going to say I settled for another yellow rose. Although, I wondered at first, if that was exactly what I had done.
Instead of being placed in the bed which is now my garden, Michelangelo was planted in a large pot. Until recently, it didn’t seem to be doing much of anything. Fortunately, it didn’t die either. Then about three weeks ago, it had a massive growth spurt complete with flower buds. Its initial growth had occurred where I couldn’t see it, in the soil. It wouldn’t have been able to produce the growth I observed without concentrating on its roots first. I have been photographing this rose for the past three days. The timing was a miracle, one which has just occurred to me in the last day or two. My mom died May 28, 2015, and my new rose just gifted me with two buds which opened at the same time. This time of year is not only difficult for me because it’s a painful anniversary; it was also made worse by once again observing the horrendous things we do to each other in the name of selfishness. I don’t care which labels humanity use to disguise it, because that’s what really it is. I should know, because I’ve experienced it personally, and it’s why my mother is gone.
This seemingly insignificant gift was given to me by my special friend. It was a reminder he is still here, and still loves unconditionally. It was also a pointed reminder that where our roots are planted and nurtured, makes a difference in what we produce where others can see it. This is not the first lesson I’ve received about the importance of roots. There have actually been several recently. It’s one of the most important lessons a gardener should take away from their endeavors. When I removed Michelangelo from its nursery pot, I didn’t throw any old soil into its new, pretty blue pot. I used rose soil designed specifically for its needs. I make sure it is watered properly in between bouts of rain, too. That care rewarded me with something profoundly beautiful, the promise of peace, which is something I have struggled to find for the last five years.
For all of you wondering how to fix the world’s ills, I challenge you to start with yourselves, before you try to fix anyone else. Regardless of your skin color, ask yourself where your roots are planted. What, and who, are really feeding your soul? All the things we tend to value and think give us value as human beings, which are mainly possessions, have no value whatsoever in the realm of my special friend, who happens to be the creator and ruler of the universe.
If you’re still not convinced and need historical precedent, then look no further than the ancient Egyptians. All those pharaohs who thought themselves divine, lost their wealth and power the moment they died. Although, they certainly made the day of a few grave robbers. The true king values humility and selflessness, two characteristics human beings don’t come by naturally. It’s due to that lack most of us reject him out of hand, because we’re too blind to understand the cosmic implications of our selfish natures. We claim what he asks of us is too difficult and mistakenly believe that frees us from his expectations, when in fact it does nothing of the sort. He promised, if we become his friend, he will help us overcome the worst in ourselves and receive a place in his eternal kingdom. That’s the secret. He seeks personal relationships, based on a daily connection with him. In exchange, he feeds our roots with the food we really need and gives us the ability to make a true difference in the lives of others. That is the one promise no one can take from us, even when they threaten death.
So, stop looking to institutions and other human beings to fix our woes. Institutions were created for the express purpose of controlling, separating and justifying the removal of possessions from other human beings, most especially our dignity. That includes using religion, which is the worst sin we can commit in our heavenly friend’s eyes. He is willing to forgive us for everything else, but there is no forgiveness for misrepresenting his true character.
The Spirit and the bride say “Come.” Let anyone who hears this say, “Come.” Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life. And I solemnly declare to everyone who hears the words of prophecy written in this book; If anyone adds anything to what is written here, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book. And if anyone removes any of the words from this book of prophecy, God will remove that person’s share in the tree of life and in the holy city that are described in this book.
He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!”
Amen, Come, Lord Jesus!
May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s holy people.
Revelation 22:17-21 (The Love Languages Devotional Bible)