When life seems full of thorns – look for the roses

I bought roses recently and the thorns were cut-off.  I questioned the store clerk about the roses.  She hadn’t noticed.  I asked if I could get roses with thorns.  She said that was impossible because the roses arrived at the store like this.  No special orders are available.

My purpose for the roses was to use them as an example of life’s journey in a grief group.  Often there is pain.  Great pain produced from single events.  Excruciating pain manifested from single relationships which are separated or unrepairable.  But, I believe – and it has been affirmed by my experiences, along with stories shared in innumerable conversations – there is a blossom opportunity in each case.

Feel free to argue against me.  Feel free to show any and all the evidence you can produce to prove me wrong.  And, when you have exhausted all your efforts, I will wonder in another direction that maybe you have never considered.  I will be curious about this, that and the other thing.  I will not request for more facts, so I can judge.  I will not interrogate, taking the position of offense, so that your defenses will go up.  I offer my witness and my attention to listen.  I provide my presence and the essence that supports me.  I will offer it to you.

Roses are symbols for many cultures.  Roses are admired, valued and illustrious keepsakes.  Roses are used to communicate, commemorate, and represent gratitude, congratulations, friendship and, of course for love.  Imagine a vase of roses.  Pick one.  Consider its uniqueness.  Imagine the places it has been.  Peer at its’ beauty.  Notice where it is fragile.  Breathe in its scent.

Think of a time you received a rose.  Think of a time you gave a rose.

Roses in their natural state have thorns.  Consider the thorns of life’s journey.  Remember the times when things didn’t go as planned.  Remember the hurt, the fear or the frustration that transpired because of something that happened and someone was at fault.  Remember what happened next.  Do you remember feeling stuck or lost, or overwhelmed, as if nothing would or could ever change?

Feel the stem between the thorns.  Notice its smooth texture and sturdiness of structure.  Look up through the end where water is absorbed as nourishment.  These are some of the strengths of the rose.

Remember what connected you to the person you gave the rose to or who was the person you received the rose from.  Recall the purpose of why you were at the event.  Expand your memories to remember why this time was so important.  Was there a thrill of gladness, a surprise of celebration or thankfulness of shared experiences?  Might these positive reactions be a blossom opportunity for you?  You have the opportunity to thank or honor that person you shared the rose with for what they mean to you.  If possible, you could share the remembrance of the event you have with the person you shared it with.  Sharing and blossom opportunities can come about in many forms…

I had many college friends.  The school, an aviation school and primarily male-oriented, divided the school year into trimesters rather semesters or quarters.  The school celebrated each completed trimester with a graduation ceremony and celebration.  I attended each ceremony with ribbon-bowed beer-bottle vases containing each with a rose for each one of my friends.  I passed them out like a baseball vendor who was as excited for the graduate and only with her creativity was able to show it.  Picture this:  college students leaving college with each hand full:  one hand with what they attended college for—a diploma and the other hand holding a gift symbolizing their life journey to come.

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”  William Shakespeare

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