Last week my husband and I made a quick trip to Target. As we strolled down the aisles with our buggy, picking up the items we had on our list, I could hear thunder rumbling outside. We don't have thunderstorms in our area very often but when we do they can be quite dramatic. The thunder was in the distance so I thought we had time to finish shopping and make it home before the storm pushed in. As we were checking out we looked out the store front windows and saw buckets of rain pouring down. We decided to wait out the storm in a Starbucks located at the front of the store. We ordered our coffee and sat down by the large wall of windows. The sky was blackened with storm clouds, the once distant thunder had closed the gap, lightening was streaking across the sky like bullets of light and rain was coming down in sheets. The storm had arrived. We watched as a few brave souls darted out the door and to their cars. Two small girls (about 9 and 10) ran to a car that had pulled up within feet of the store's door, they quickly turned and ran down an aisle in the parking lot. Poor dears had run to the wrong car. They must have been drenched when they hopped into the right one. As we sat and watched the rain pound the pavement and sidewalks we thought that hail was falling but at a closer look we could see that what we thought was hail was actually raindrops hitting the pavement with such force they were bouncing up like hail would. I love watching thunderstorms and rain, there is something completely powerful about it. The display of lights and sound from a thunderstorm, to me, is as captivating as any movie Hollywood could make. I watch a streak of lighting light up the sky and wonder where did it hit; I hear a roll of thunder and think of how that rumble will travel miles to warn others of the coming storm.
If this post is a "story of the rose", why am I talking about a storm? I can't tell the story of the rose without telling the story of the storm. They are connected. After we arrived home, night had fallen and what was a promise of a full moon was hidden by the dark clouds. I began to think about my rose bushes loaded with fragrant blooms. I decided to wait until morning before venturing out to take a look at the damage. The next morning, with a cup of coffee in hand, of course, I walked out onto my front porch to take a look. To my surprise, very few blossoms had been knocked off by the driving rain. The leaves were radiant with the reflection of the raindrops sitting on them. The pale petals were sun-kissed and seemed to be proud to hold their heads high after such a beating. I was amazed that such a fragile beauty could survive a tremendous storm of winds and rain. I sat down with my coffee and pondered a lesson from this. Life's storms happen to all of us. Sometimes we hear the distant rumble of them headed our way and have time to prepare and sometimes they arrive unannounced taking us by surprise. The shock and fury of them may cause us to lose our mental and emotional equilibrium. In our storm we may feel like a ship tossed to and fro in the fury, whipped by the winds, taken to the sheer, dizzying crest of misfortune's wave and then let go to slip down the slope of despair. Just when we think life's storm will never end, it passes. Often these storms leave a lingering sense of fear that another one is just out there past the horizon beyond our sight. As I surveyed my rose garden and sipped my coffee I considered how those blooms made it through the storm; I thought about how I planted the rose garden. I dug down deep to give the plants a good foundation, I scooped out the clay soil and replaced it with good soil that drains well (just what roses need), I added nutrients to give them a good start; since their planting, I have added new layers of mulch each year which has broken down and add richness to the soil. I pruned them when needed to give the core branches strength and kept the suckers clipped off so the real plant would receive the water and nourishment and not branches that would never bloom. The bushes are healthy because they are anchored well and given what they need to keep them healthy. When we are anchored well and given what we need to be healthy in our body, spirit and soul we can survive the storms of life. I am personally anchored in a faith in Jesus Christ. I depend on His Word to feed my soul and spirit. I believe He has called us to be good stewards of our bodies so I try to eat well and exercise. I try (but I'm not always successful, I must admit) to not allow "suckers" in my life that will deplete my time and energy and that do not produce what is fruitful for my life. I have recently come through a devastating life storm and because my roots sink deep into an unshakeable Faith I know that this rose will survive and thrive again. I know there are other storms that will cross the horizon in my direction, they are inevitable; I don't look forward to them but I won't live in a state of fear or dread. If you are going through a life storm, keep the faith, you will make it through.