Roses have never been my style, those perfect flowers with heady scents grown to be stripped of their thorns and put in vases, knowing early deaths after yes a magnificent life of commanding all the attention but still uprooted and cut and arranged by others this way and that. Roses have always made me sad, they seem shallow, like the first middle school girls who wear make-up and grow breasts and curves and know the boys like them for their bodies and will leave them when they begin to droop. No, wildflowers are my real love, those tough determined flashes of color all shapes and sizes that show up where least expected bringing beauty and joy if one looks closely and doesn’t blink. Wildflowers know they will not grace any hall tables unless discovered by the truest finders of God’s gifts, children, and they are content to bloom where they erupt and allow the wind to scatter their seeds and allow the rain to water their next generation. Wild flowers know that it is only in trusting God that they even exist and while no one may ever notice them, it is enough that God does and finds them worthy.
Remembering that God created the roses as well, a purposeful life of containment can still be lived within the confines of the vase. See the child lean so close, head dipped into the face of the rose, no worries of thorns as she caresses the petals? A visit with God as she breathes in the Holy Spirit. A corsage adorning the grandmother’s lapel brings whiffs of a 1,000 diaper changes and a 1,000,000 meals created with a meager pantry and too many mouths, each turn releases the scent of long mothering days and prayerful anxious nights and dreams and hopes, some known and more left in the field. Roses are created by God as well, flowers that bring memories afresh and draw lovers closer. How can I learn from both the roses in hot houses and the wildflowers of the meadows?
I forget that I am not a lone daisy in a field raising my face to God, still but for the breeze or the vibration of insects wings as they brush by, taking only what they need for nourishment, never too much, never all of me. I fight against being cut down and confined to a vase, knowing hearing yearning for the fields and the worlds around. Am I to be kept for the sure enjoyment of one day, the needs of only one rather than the possible delight of any who might wander by and sure feeding of the sun and the moon and the butterflies? My soul says I am more, I have greater reach, stretch out! Yet my stem gets sliced to a more manageable size, I am placed inside under watch as my petals begin to fall and my colors fade. How do I learn to be a rose when I am a flower of the pasture? Is my faith in God enough to survive the knife again and again, as I am reduced to less and less until I am pressed between the pages of a book no one will read?
Do we bring glory to God by becoming less than what our souls yearn to be or by dodging and swaying away from the scissors to avoid the cut that separates us from life giving earth and sun and air? Is that God whispering urging telling us to listen to the wind as we notice the ways we are bending folding exchanging our petals until finally we are only tissue paper dreams of what could have been? Once cut off from our true purpose, hope drips out like tears onto the sofa, collected in kleenex and tossed away while we sit helplessly in the vase and wait. Still, I know that the same God who created the flowers the fields designed the roses with their thorns and even a shorter life in captivity can bring glory to Him.
Listen, listen carefully , what does the breeze whisper? Stay or sway? Reach up to Him with trust, let tears mix with dew. The truth is that even meadow flowers get trampled by deer, nibbled by rabbits. The only safety is in the arms of God, the vase and the field are both temporary containers. How we live out our time in either is how we bring glory to the One who created us. Stay or sway, allow our thorns to be stripped, we all turn our faces to the Son and know He holds the answers.