“They’re all dead, Yesenia. I’m sorry.”
It was a shocking sight; Twelve of them; bundled together with only their heads visible, drooping lifelessly across the seat. They never had a chance; forgotten for hours in the back of a car left under the relentless Guatemalan sun. “Go inside, Honey. I’ll get rid of them.”
“No,” replied Yesenia. “I liked them very much. Please…. bring them to the kitchen so I can try to save something from them.”
And thus begins the story of our dozen roses and what a little faith can do. (If you thought it was something else in the back seat, you need to pray……NOW!)
I was pretty certain that the flowers were dead beyond hope. Petals were falling off. The leaves were curled and not so green any more. A bee even flew by and didn’t bother to stop. Yesenia admitted that she had much doubt, too. But, God bless her, my lovely wife poured her heart into the task of saving all twelve of them. She nipped a bit off the stems, removed all the thorns, and gently placed them in the vase of fresh water (not tap!) she prepared for them. The whole while, she told them how sorry she was and assured them they would be alright. And in a final show of faith, Yesenia put these wilted, dried-out things in the position of honor: dead center of the coffee table, in front of the couch, blocking my view of the television.
She won’t admit it, but knowing my wife, she was probably prayed over the flowers for the next few hours, while I was working in another part of the house. Whatever she did, it worked. I returned to the living room to find life blooming with gusto from that flower vase. Not only were they alive, but they opened wider than when we bought them!
The next few days were very hot down here. We kept the water fresh and full. Each evening, Yesenia would carry the flowers into our courtyard to enjoy the cooler air of the spring nights. Every morning, the roses looked more and more beautiful and vibrant.
Then…tragedy! One of the flowers must have tried to break away. Its stem was lifted above the water line somehow and we found it wilting off to the side, dying once more. Again, instinct told me to toss it out, to separate it from the others before they could see. But instead, Yesenia took it under her care, snipped a little more off the bottom and repositioned it front and center of the others. Soon it was in full bloom again.
More than a week later, all of the roses are still bursting with life and providing beauty in our home. It would have been so easy to just throw them away and buy another dozen. There are roses everywhere in Guatemala. But these roses needed help. By providing this help, we helped them get reborn. In return, they provided us with a wonderful feeling of satisfaction and became like part of our family. Guests comment on their beauty. If only they could have seen them in the back seat last week!
Well, there’s a pretty obvious correlation here with people. There are people who are just as easy to toss aside and forget. There are other people who need a little stem-snipping and thorn removal and especially water… like the Water that poured out to save us all. These people may dwell on the fringes of your life. They may be the least of your brothers or sisters. We need to take them and put them front and center for a while. We need to let them know they are not forgotten. They need to be reminded that they are children of God. They are our brothers and sisters.
Think of people on the fringes of your life who may need a little help, a little time, or just a kind word to shed the thorns. Help them. Love them. Pray with them. When their smiles bloom in front of you, it will make you feel good about who you are, too- a child of God; just like them.
LOVE ONE ANOTHER!