Dead Roses

I’ve been back into (cautious, judicious, limited) yard work. It’s spring, it’s warm, the sun shines — there are few other places I like to be.

But I’m not the mastermind. My husband is. He has this great grand scheme for every corner of our yard. It must be because his bachelor pad condo had none and what little he had he had to ask permission of all the neighbors.

Every year, he has this project to try to make things better. One year, he tried to kill all the grass on the one section of the yard and then plant something that was supposed to overrun the entire hill so there would be no mowing.

Another year, he started to try to kill some old evergreen stumps so he could level out the yard. He did a good job in one area. I am still waiting for the other area to be done.

About two years ago in October, he came home from work all excited. He was talking about these super roses he got on sale and how beautiful they were.

Out they came… I was speechless. He had five pots wrapped in foil and filled with soil. Each pot had dead, ugly twigs sticking out. I didn’t want to hurt him. “Honey, where are the flowers?”

“Oh, don’t worry. That’s why they’re on sale. It’s after the season. I’ll plop them in a hole and they’ll bloom next spring. It’ll be fine.”

I sighed. “It’s your project. And if you bought them on sale, they won’t break the budget.” And I wandered away. Throughout the fall and into winter, I focused on my indoor work. I hadn’t yet learned to love the outside yet.

I remember one winter day after snow had fallen. I looked at where he’d picked to plant the roses. The white blanket on the world was broken by these dark, sick twigs poking up. He’d picked what I would have thought was the worst spot… a flat area that didn’t melt well even on a warm winter afternoon.

Again, I got lost on my end of keeping our domestic arrangement. It was probably late April or early May. In with the normal greens and browns, there were flashes of color. The twigs had rose buds! Three were one color, and two were another. It was a fiery ring of color.

I laughed to myself (and felt foolish). Later that spring I found constructive things to do outside that required a black thumb and destructive tendencies. 😉 And I stayed away from his beautiful roses.

This year, I’m thinking about those roses and life as I wait for them to bloom.

How many people do you know who seem to be lackluster? They don’t seem to have much of a personality. They don’t seem to have much of a social life. They seem to struggle just to get by. They’re colorless and lifeless, and it seems like they’ll snap like a dry twig if they go through too much.

The storms of life come. They get covered in daily stress of work or kids or school or church or whatever. Life goes on around them, and they still stick out, colorless, lifeless dry, without standing out.

So unnoticeable, they get forgotten, pushed off to the side. You focus on life for a time, and they wander back after a while. It is a good time. Life is sunny but not too hot. And those twigs… suddenly, like the roses, they are full of life and light. They are strong and weather whatever comes their way. They have balance and purpose.

Sometimes for roses and people, time, place, and love are all it takes to bring out the best in them.


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