Stepping outside to shake a couple of rugs, I noticed a few ambitious stems poking from the dirt in the flower bed along the front of our porch. Immediately, I recognized the faithful hyacinths that usher in each spring and linger just long enough to see that warmer temperatures have come to stay. Birds have begun building nests, and perennials have started to sprout from the ground. They were a welcome sight on this sunny, but still cold day in late February. Turning to go inside, I spied the first tiny leaves on the rose bush at the end of my porch. This was a less pleasing sight, because in the five years that we have lived in our current home the rose bush has yet to bloom.
That plant has been quite a thorn in my side over the last several years. I don’t know what color the roses would be, nor if it ever bloomed before our arrival. It is a perfectly placed bush, and enjoying flowers like everyone else, I’ve tried a variety of things over the years to help this obstinate rose along. It’s very much alive, the branches growing all summer long. Yet, never is there the slightest hint of color, or excitement, or imagination on that bush.
Rose-growing friends have advised me about the sun and shade requirements of my plant, and all tell me it has just the right light. I’ve experimented with watering, but no level of hydration seems to satisfy this reclusive beauty. Some say perfect pruning is the key, so I have conscientiously clipped my rose bush at the designated intervals. On one sunshiny day while my then four-year-old son and I watered and weeded in the yard, we paused to say a little prayer for our sad, bare rose bush. Still, no blooms appeared. Always searching for new information, I surveyed my mother-in-law, who is semi-expert flower enthusiast. Given the history and information on my plant, she simply said that some rose bushes just don’t bloom. She said we just may need to dig it up. For some reason, some rose bushes just aren’t any good. Really! Is that right?
Glancing at my troublesome greenery this morning, the thought crossed my mind that maybe rose bushes are a little like people. Some come on quickly with vibrant colors, stunning and exuberant from their very first season. These are fun and carefree, and a pleasure to any grower. Others are late bloomers that over the years reach their full beauty and potential, weathering difficult seasons, but growing more confidently over time. These roses fill a gardener with pride, because they represent strength and hard work. There are roses that are impressive standing alone and roses that compliment others in the garden. Then, maybe, just maybe, there are those that sadly never bloom. Perhaps they remain uninspired despite all attempts of their planter to bring them to life – these roses are frustrating, difficult, perplexing, and even heart-breaking.
If roses are a little like people, then perhaps parenting is a little like rose growing. What is most important to me is helping my two children bloom into the kind of roses they are meant to be. As with my faltering flower, I will, no doubt, try different things along the way. I’ll seek advice from friends and experts about what will best serve the needs of my beautiful little plants. I will pray a lot. One thing I won’t do is believe that they won’t bloom. I won’t believe that for any reason. I prefer to believe that roses just bloom in their own season.
While writing that I was sure children “bloom” given time, I was not so sure what my rose bush would do. By May of this same year, it had indeed begun to bloom with gorgeous red roses. It bloomed abundantly and beautifully the entire summer! I don’t believe the timing was accidental. Instead, I prefer to believe it was God’s encouragement of faith!