Stop and Smell the Roses

Rose

Roses are red, yellow, purple and pink.

They come in more colors than you might think.

They all sparkle in the morning dew.

No matter their differences, just like me and you.

I like to consider myself someone that has a green thumb. I absolutely love working in my yard and gardening everything. I love to plant and trim bushes, grow fruits and vegetables, and plant and care for all kinds of beautiful flowers. I think this love of the outside and love of my yard was passed down to me from my grandma, my momma and my aunt. It would really be no surprise to walk down our street (but don’t really walk because it’s a really busy street) on a beautiful day and see my mom, my aunt or myself outside doing something in the yard. It’s just a hobby that to me is so satisfying. It takes a lot of work and a lot of care and learning, but to see the fruits of your labor is just so gratifying and beautiful. I can’t wait for the Springtime to come around each year so I can start searching through my flower beds looking for the tiny sprouts of life or searching my roses for new buds. I think one of my favorite things to do in the yard though is to tend to my rose garden.

My grandmother had a small rose garden in her yard that I remember as a child. I used to love walking around my grandma’s yard admiring her roses. My momma always had gorgeous roses too. One of the first things that I did when I built my own house was to make sure I made room for a rose garden of my own. Sadly, by the time that this happened my grandma had passed away, but my mom gave me some of her roses to start my collection. I have roses of all colors, all fragrances and all varieties. One may not know all of the choices that you have when picking out roses. I think this helped solidify the fact that roses are something that I truly love. To me, they mimic life so perfectly. Even though you have many different types, heights, colors, fragrances, each rose is beautiful and prefect in it’s own right much like we are as people. We may be different races, different backgrounds, different religions, different walks of life all together, we are all still unique and beautiful. And when put together, we make an amazingly diverse yet beautiful garden.

Every time I get out to tend to my roses I always start to think about how care and maintenance of my roses mimics that of my life. Not referring to all of the differences, but just to the rose in general. Roses require a lot of care and a lot of work to become strong hearty beautiful flowers. This is a lot like us. As an individual we have to give ourselves the same level of care to grow into strong healthy good people. In the early spring I start to prune my roses. I take off the limbs that have grown very far astray and the ones that are not looking healthy. This help shape the plant’s future growth for this period of the season. Now I’m obviously not saying for you to cut off a limb or even cut those stray bangs that won’t stay in place. What I am saying is that it’s good to take an inventory of the things that you have going on in your life. The Spring time is a time for new growth, both for plants and for people. If there are areas of your life that have gone way out into left field and it’s taking a lot of energy and focus off of other more positive things, it may be time to prune that area back. The main stalks of the rose are essential for fostering new growth and making a plant healthy. Our body and mind are like that stalk. We have to make sure that the main branches of our life are under control and not going out all crazy in order to keep us strong and focused on the important things. Sure, you can let the stray branches go, but what you’re left with is a plant that really has no control and the essentials for this plant are all over the place.

I also have to fertilize my roses. The way that I do mine may be different from you and that’s ok just as long as you take the time to fertilize them. They way I do my roses is that I sprinkle little pellets around the base of the stalk on the ground. These pellets are time released and they gently give more nutrients to the plant. This is also how I like to “fertilize” myself. I like to take time to give myself extra resources to get stronger and healthier. While you may think of this as actual food and nutrients, I think of this as things to feed my mind and my soul. I like to spend time reading devotionals. Sitting on the porch admiring the things that God has created and being thankful for the things that I have. This helps my mind to rest and my soul to fill. For you, this could be meditating, yoga, reading, writing, anything at all that give you some time to reset and to grow. But in reality, it can’t be just a one time fertilizer. It needs to be something that you can do slowly, that you can do over along period of time to keep you energized and whole.

One of the hardest things for me to do in regards to my roses is to “dead head” them. This means that you go to the bushes and you pull off the old buds that have bloomed and died and make it so the plant sends the right amount of care and nutrients to the buds that are still blooming or that are about to bloom. I don’t like this part as I don’t like to pull anything off of my roses. There are times when you may have to pull off a bloom that still has some petals. Every time I dead head my roses I always start thinking about the people and the relationships in my life. It’s imperative to pull off the old buds so that the plant knows that it needs to send more nutrient to the other buds and not keep sending them to one that’s dead. Our life is very much like this. Just like my roses, you should dead head the bad people and the bad relationships in your life periodically. It may be hard too, but there are some pretty clear ones that you know are damaging to you or that are really not that beneficial that you keep putting time and effort into. Actually, the ones that are dead are the ones that are easy to remove. It’s the ones that are almost dead and the buds that are small or damaged that are the hardest to get rid of. There are some relationships in your life that are there, and they are ok, but they are on the border of being toxic. That’s when you have to make the decision to get rid of them now and let the rest of your relationships flourish or wait until they fully die out to remove them. At that point, another bud or relationship may have suffered. When I see a bud that has a hole in it or that has been eaten, I wonder should I pull it now or wait to see if it I think it will make it. Sometimes in our lives there is a very new relationship that may have been tainted at the start. It’s at that point that you survey the damage and see if you think it will turn into something beautiful. There have been buds on my roses that have been damaged that have turned into gorgeous flowers, and at the same time there have been some that have been completely ruined and never fully bloomed. Those are the hard ones you learn to pluck off. You can’t have all of your time and energy and effort go to growing great relationships if you are sending valuable resources like your time, to ones that are already or almost dead.

Every single time I am out in my yard working on or just admiring my roses I am left with complete pride. I also get a sense of pride that I try to take care of myself the same way I care for my roses. The evidence of my time and effort can be seen in myself as well as my relationship with those closest to me. I hope that this little comparison makes some sense to you and that it gives you something that you can carry. At the very least, something you can think about next time you see a rose. And remember to always stop and smell the roses. It really does do the mind some good.