About one year ago, as we were moving into this fixer-upper with a great yard in a great location, Kent spotted a tiny plant hidden between the dilapitated outhouse and back wall we share with the mosque. Familiar little leaves, like those of a ROSE. Surely roses are not indigenous plants and were probably carefully brought here some decades ago by previous foreigners with a taste for home gardens. Here there are spindly poinsettia trees, and wild hibiscus, lemongrass, bougainvillea and palms and vines galore, but a rose? I was doubtful. With the aid of our handy sack full of bat guano from the attic remodel we transplanted this tiny thing (maybe 11" tall) to the area out our back door. My imaginary back patio, which will one day be more than dirt and rocks...
Flash forward to August 09 when after 2 months of remodeling and 1 month on the road I spend the entire month in bed with 2 bouts of malaria topped off with a dash of swine flu. Somewhere near the end of this month-in-bed, just as I was starting to feel better, I was blasting a Sara Groves song. As she sang, 'Hope has a way of turning it's face to you just when you least expect it... walk through a room, you look out a window and something there leaves you breathless...' And, I kid you not, God's timing is beautiful music, these exact words were playing as I walked down our dark hallway to the cramped kitchen and in a glance I will never forget, saw HOPE embodied. My little rose-ish imp had grown several inches and blossomed the most beautiful of pink blossoms. It WAS a rose after all! God provided us a house, even though it was a time-sink and disappointment in some ways, and just as He had worked healing in my body, I knew He would work healing in our house.
A reason to hope.
As our fall rains came, our little pink picture of hope continued to grow stronger and taller. By the time the Christmas heatwave hit it was over a meter tall (3 feet) with a series of blooms one after another. Sometime in January I noticed something new... a little sprout. (I'm sure you gardening experts have a more official name - excuse my ignorance. For many years now I have not had a garden to call my own, so this is all new to me.) A baby rose plant! Hope begets hope.
As the new growth grew to about a foot and developed roots of its own I prepped soil and cut it off from the mother plant to move it further away. (Someone with gardening expertise is probably going to read this and know better - please just leave it the comments - I'll take all the advice I can get.) The move was really rough on the baby rose and it died down to its second-to-last green leaf (the dog running over it everyday didn't help either, but a fence eventually did...). I started to get bold with pruning the mother plant.
I was taught, in the northern hemisphere, of course, that rose bushes are to be trimmed down to about 12-18" in February or so to allow for the new growth of spring. Well, we don't have seasons like that here (see previous post), so I was a bit lost. I have been trying something new cutting a stem down that far after its thorns turn color and its blossomed already 2-4 times. So far it's been getting me a bushier plant (which = more flowers!).
And after a few dormant weeks here and there, this rose of hope blooms. And every time I walk in or out of my kitchen I look out the back door to drink in the sight of it. Last month I had not one, not two, but SIX pink roses on that mother plant. And the baby? The baby is now almost two feet tall with its first pink rose and another bud. How far He has brought us all this past year!
That first little rose plant must have been put there years ago awaiting my discovery, that in nurturing I would also be nurtured and would find HOPE. Hope I can look at and touch.
That's why my roses make me smile. They are a tangible picture to me of the unseen work God is doing to settle us here and I have HOPE He will use our lives for his Glory.