Monday, September 19, 2011

It's a Rose Bush Thing - Epilogue

When I first published this post, I was hopeful that this little rose bush would one day bloom again. It would grow and die back, grow and die back. New growth but no new blooms. I never really pay attention to it, but every now and then look over, hopeful. Then today - Labor Day - I noticed one new beautiful red bud. Probably the most beautiful rose bud I have ever seen. It's blooming! This little rose bush is me. I have felt a little dead and ugle, twisted and dry. But all the while God was growing my roots, making sure my base and limbs were strong to hold the big beautiful blooms that would soon come. He needed me to be able to withstand storms and drought. It has been a long rainy season but my roots are strong, cutting through the hard clay that lies beneath. I knew that when that rose began to bloom something great was coming my way. And I still believe that. I am blooming. Watch me!

Rose bushes. They're beautiful yet dangerous; strong yet delicate. And to someone who does not possess a green thumb they are next to impossible to grow. Yet I managed to somehow grow some rose bushes in my front yard. I had a nice bed of roses planted along the tree line when we first moved in 12 years ago. Those were moved to a sunnier bed along the corner of our driveway and sidewalk. Since rose bushes are not evergreens, they would look a little sickly during the winter, so we moved them once again to a bed along the side yard of the house. This new bed contained a generous amount of red Georgia clay about 12 inches below the surface soil. We dug and dug but between the clay and tree roots, we could only dig so far. We placed a heaping amount of soft soil around the roots of the surviving bushes and watered and fertilized like crazy. Well, this green thumb didn't do well at all. All but one died and were eventually pulled up and discarded. I gave you all that to say this: that one remaining rose bush is the miracle of it all.
When the others died, I noticed there was still new growth on it. I cut it back before the first frost a few years back and just let it go. I figured it would die and then I wouldn't feel bad about pulling it up too. After all, that clay is extremely difficult for roots to break through. On warmer days I would water it but I pretty much left it alone. When spring broke, I cut down what little growth was there, watered, fertilized, and again let it be. Soon there was new growth sprouting! Beautiful new red leaves all over. So I had hope that it would bloom. But no blooms ever appeared. This has happened time and again over the last several years. I'd cut it down for the winter; cut it back in the spring; it grows new leaves but no blooms; I'd cut it down again and the cycle continued. What happened next is what got to me.
Just a week ago I was doing yard work for the first time in a long time. It felt good sweating and getting dirty. I love to work in the yard and had missed it while I was recovering. I was pulling up weeds and trimming bushes when I took a good close look at my lonely little red rose bush. It looked truly dead. I trimmed the branches back and they just broke off - dry and brittle - with no green in the middle. I knew it was dead. I trimmed it back to nothing but a stump and said a small goodbye. For the next week I didn't even look at it. I planned to pull it up soon and discard it. Well don't you know when I went to pull some weeds by the mailbox today that I looked and there is new growth all over it! That little rose bush somehow came back and is growing again. And I thought how wonderful that is.
I feel like that little rose bush. For years I have been growing a few new leaves here and there but never really blooming. And recently, I was cut back and there was nothing but old, brittle, dryness inside. Nothing green. Nothing new. But like that little rose bush, I have strong roots in solid ground - fertile ground even if it is hard like clay. And I may have to be cut back time and again. But give me a little water, a little sunshine, and I can sprout some new growth. And someday soon, I'll bloom again. Only my blooms will be bigger and brighter because all this time I was letting my roots grow and get strong. You can't easily unroot me. I can look sickly and dead and people may just ignore me like I did that rose bush. That's ok. I can grow and bloom and one day you'll turn and there I'll be. Thank God for rose bushes.

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