Saturday, May 21, 2016

Pink Roses, Beauty for Ashes

Continued from More Light Bulbs

By December 10th, almost everyone had learned of our tragedy. Tear-stained faces mirrored my own as I opened the door, welcoming well wishers bearing food, flowers, and open arms for hugs, trying the best they knew how to assist the living in dealing with the dead.

They had the same questions I had. How could Roma be gone? He was Roma! Roma was invincible. Roma  always landed on his feet. God met him around every corner. God was still using Roma. How was it possible that Roma had slipped away from our sight, this time permanently?  None of it made sense. Not without God. And what kind of God allowed this to happen? Did I believe what I had always professed to believe about God? Was He still good? Could He be trusted?

Three days after Roma departed, we suddenly had temperatures reaching 70 degrees. In Maryland. The sunny weather helped my mood. In addition to friends pouring their love out on us,  the sun and warmth were another balm for my broken heart.

See the tiny pink rose?
I was standing out in the yard talking to the flower delivery woman for the second time that day. As I turned to go back inside, something drew my attention to the far side of the yard. I walked over to get a closer look. At first it looked like scrap of pink tissue stuck on a thorn on our knockout rose bushes. A closer look revealed that it was a pink rose. It wasn't a perfect rose. It looked as if it had bloomed quickly a few days earlier, with only a few malformed petals. I cut it and put it in a bud vase on the table where all the other florist flowers were displayed. The next day, I noticed two more pink buds. Throughout the week they kept budding. In December. In Maryland.

A pink rose. I had only recently become aware of my apparent obsession with pink roses, when a first-time house guest remarked, "You really love your pink roses."

Sunroom love seat
My dishes
Hmm. As I started to observe, I was a little self conscious of my decoration choices. As an artist, I like to think I have good taste that often runs toward eclectic. I love what I love. But had I overdone the roses?  They are eye-candy for me.  They had "sprouted" so gradually over the years I hardly notice that they now had overgrown the garden, if such a thing is possible. They were on my dishes. My salt and pepper shaker were pink rose buds. In the sunroom beside the kitchen, pink roses covered the upholstery on the love seat, the hook rug on the floor, plates hanging on the wall. A bench, a chest and even the woven wood roman shades that hung on my windows, I had painted pink roses. And ceramic and dried pink roses were here and there. On the sheets where my friend slept, the towels hanging in her room. 
painted tray

Pin bought in Russia, 2002
 Wow, I had overdone the pink roses. In every direction I turned, I could see a pink rose. They had sprouted in my closet, in my jewelry box, in my cabinets, on the walls, on the furniture. You get the idea. My house had become a virtual pink rose garden.

Trunk top detail, painted in 1984

needlepoint pillow

treasured antique dust-catcher
clock face
Yes, those are salt and pepper shakers.

I could go on for pages, but I won't. 

I couldn't help thinking of Roma's wish to buy me flowers for my birthday, twelve days earlier. Now, I had pink roses blooming in December, in Maryland. For a week, I checked daily, finding new and more perfect pink buds every day.

True, it had suddenly become unseasonably warm, so I guess skeptics could argue that roses blooming in Maryland in December was possible. But skeptics would be hard pressed to explain one thing. My precious little pink roses were blooming on my red rose bush.

It was easy for me to imagine the JOY in Heaven as God, with Roma in close pursuit, gave me gifts of love, beauty for ashes. 

This a rose blooming on the same bush today, May 21, 2016. I would have never planted red rose bushes. The builder did. I would have planted pink ones, of course. But then I would never have been so joyful when pink roses started blooming after Roma made his untimely departure in December. He didn't forget me. I was overwhelmed with extravagant LOVE! 

Pink in the background are rhododendron.

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