Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Renewal: A Rose Named Hope

For five years now, "Hope" has reminded me of the need for hope.
A dried out baby rose in a clear vase sits with several companion blooms in a dark corner.  For close to a month they sat on my kitchen counter until I relegated them to the top shelf of a bookcase out of sight, they signified a memory meaningful only to me and were losing some of their beauty.  Once in awhile, I would look at the tiny blossoms, fragile petals in variegated pink hues, the last bouquet from a friend whom had been dear to me.  A glance would transport me back to better days when life seemed to have more promise, more joy.  Over the course of the ensuing months, on occasion I would look at the roses to see if there were any changes or if they should be cast in the awaiting waste basket.  They remained the same, still-life, heads down.  I couldn’t bring myself to toss them out.  I missed my friend, a sliver of sorrow would clutch my heart

Then one day as I finished having a lengthy time alone with God and was getting ready to go on with my day, a heaviness in my heart making the day seem dark, when something arrested my attention.  A small whisper came to me entering into my thoughts, “Go look at the flowers.”  I gathered myself from the place where I sat and entered the room.  The dried roses were there, the same as always.  Nothing had changed.  I walked closer to them, carefully removing the vase off the high shelf as I looked intently at the dried petals.  I noticed some dust particles and a few miniscule webs crisscrossing their delicate heads.  The whisper spoke again and said, See the one that’s not drooping down?  Look at it.”  Sure enough, there was one rose in the center of the bouquet with its dried blossom looking out and slightly up.  The other roses were drooping in quiet deadness.  Its name is Hope.”  The thought quickly framed itself in my mind, and I focused on that one uplifted bloom reaching high to elevate its head. Tears welled up in my eyes as I gently replaced the vase.  “Flowers having names?” the question floated through my thoughts.  “Do you think the Creator names His creations?” I mused to myself as I returned to my tasks.  My spirits lifted, and I felt lighter.  I was encouraged by a dried up little flower that had the good fortune to be named, Hope. Its message became mine. There is always hope.  Throughout the day I thought about hope.  Hope during those times when we are in need and hope when all is right in our lives.

Today I needed its strength, its reminder.  My eyes searched for it, rested a moment. Reassured, I went on with my day, a small element of peace settling my feelings of discomfort.  Yes, it offers me a small blessing in the complicated thoughts of my day.  I am thankful for my little gift, my encourager that helps me refocus when hard moments come my way. 


The Rest of the Story

My story of, Hope, is one I have shared with a few people during their time of need.  I gave to a colleague, a teacher recently diagnosed with breast cancer, a woman who was not yet forty, a mother of a toddler and a teenager. She embraced me the next day saying it gave her comfort. Another time I gave it to a friend to give to his sister whose husband had recently passed away. She read it, then exclaimed, "Wait a minute." She entered her room, took an arrangement down from the closet shelf, one from the funeral. "I have one, too. I have a 'Hope' flower!" She exclaimed. Her bouquet had one flower bud faced looking up.  The first time I sent it was the day after I wrote it.  I decided to send it to an acquaintance of mine.  She had lost her youngest son to suicide at the young age of 18.  He was a friend of my oldest son,  a devastating loss to all who knew him but especially to their close-knit family. I had written the story on New Year's Eve as a reminder of the good things that come in spite of the hard times. The next day, on New Year’s Day, I thought of her and emailed her my little story of Hope. She responded with an email of her own.

"Dear Norma -

You are so sweet to write that beautiful story and send it to me.  I immediately thought of the dried flowers we have in T___s' room - from one of the bouquets we received - almost three years ago - When I had a moment, I went and looked at them, and there was one with its head facing up, so I have a blossom (dried as it is) named Hope!  A sister to yours."
 That little vase of blooms is still in my room, much the same.  And Hope is lifting her head.  And I hope that Hope encourages you and makes you smile.   
A smile is a gift to the soul.

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