Tag Archive | new year

A Lesson From My Roses

I recently rekindled a love affair with gardening shortly after my family was relocated to southeastern Alabama.  The area is rural, and the house we live in has wonderful space for growing all kinds of plants.  My first attempts were to grow vegetables in response to a challenge from the presiding bishop of our episcopal district.  Her goal in the project was to help communities become more self-aware and healthy.

Well, true to my “all-in” nature, I went whole hog and fell in love with the earth.  Now beans, tomatoes, and peppers are not that difficult to grow.  So my successes were huge.  But I always wanted to grow roses even though my research made me a bit nervous about growing them.  Roses needed a lot of care, preparation, and a host of other prerequisites.  However, I  plunged on to grow roses.

Needless to say, my reviews were mixed at best.  Roses are indeed particular creatures.  I planted some in various corners, open spaces, and borders of my garden. They responded Ok, but not the spectacular I was seeking.  However, I was determined to continue. The occasional fragrant  trails of the beautiful blooms were enough to give me hope and energy. Well my roses did not seem to respond to my love and attention, but then something very wonderful happened.

As I was clearing away the spent tomato plants and about to store the tomato cages away. I decided to use them in the rose garden.  The cages were very strong, and I had upgraded to some very colorful and tall ones, not the cheap flimsy dull wire kind. The colors of red, lavender, green, yellow, and lime surrounded the roses like colorful fortresses.  The effect was visually attractive, so I left them as added interest in the garden.  My own creation!

After a couple of weeks, I noticed that my roses were growing stronger and fuller.  It was as if the cages provided a guide for the roses even though they did not crowd them in any way.  They reached more securely for the sun and the sky.  Then I looked around the garden at the other roses.  It appeared that the rose bushes that braced against a wall or post column were more vibrant and fragrant.

Well of course, I have a handy bench resting near my roses in the garden that allows me to sit, admire, and reflect.  As I sat thinking about my experience with the tomato cages and the roses, it clicked  that the community of faith should have the same effect on us as believers as the tomato cages had on the roses.  The word of God should be presented as a guide, surrounding its members with strong unwavering principles of truth.  Like the tomato cages, the Word does not force its way but allows us to grow in grace as our hearts are directed and warmed  through moments of trust and dependence.

The community of faith and its influence on us should allow us to  grow, make choices, and still be unyielding in its acceptance of us even when we go astray.  Like my roses surrounded by the protection of the cages, we are protected by the security of God’s word that stays with us and helps us find our way to the Son, to the sky and beyond.



So, Oprah is 60?

Last week the world cheered, awed, and some even moaned  in surprise.  Oprah Winfrey joined the millions of us who are sixty and beyond.  It is funny ( funny strange not funny ha ha) how the sixty set is viewed  by the rest of the world.  Just after the big announcement about Oprah’s milestone, I received my copy of one of my favorite magazines. On the cover was the caption “reinventing yourself at 30, 40, 50, and 60”.  Wow! so this is it. The last chance to reinvent myself. I briefly spinned into a bit of a panic.  So for most of us in the sixty set the die is most definitely cast. If we have not found the  right place for ourselves in history, we have missed the mark.  Indeed is there really , I mean real life after sixty? Even Oprah shared that she was observing her birthday, quietly! Quietly, Oprah, really?

Of course we have been celebrating the vast number of baby boomers who are vital, fit, and living life fully by the phrase,  50 is the new 40. So is 60 the new 50? And exactly what does that mean?   If 50 is our mile marker for the home stretch, is it all down hill from here? How are we sixty-something’s embracing this part of our journey?   Are we filled with the wealth of wisdom that the years have poured into us?  Is anyone listening to these pearls of wisdom? Does anyone really know we are in possession of this much-needed wealth? My husband laughed at himself recently when he finished a conversation with a longlong friend. He said they spent the majority of their time talking about how they were preparing their breakfast oatmeal and the various medications they had in common. It has soberingly come to my attention that it takes me a very long time to get started in the morning.  By the time I do the essential preparations for the day, the day is half spent. Let’s not mention the toll physical activity takes on the sixty system.  After my yoga tape, I could use a nap.

Well here is my challenge to all my sixty sisters and brothers.  Wake up! Get out into the world.  We are needed.  Our journeys  have some more turns and bends to maneuver.  What is more exciting is that we have something to sow into the spirits and souls of others.  Not necessarily, just the younger set.  But also those just like us, who need to know that full life is not reserved for the young ; nor are pain, loneliness, and despair  the description for older people. If you have a job, keep working. Your place of employment probably needs an encourager. If you are retired, volunteer. Social agencies have suffered from lost of funding and would welcome your help. Share some victories.  Encourage everyone.  Look outside your own circle for opportunities to enlarge your territory. Spend a day in a nursing home.  Your gratitude meter will go through the roof.

Let’s get going. Post your activities on Facebook. Upload a picture of yourself hugging a new friend on Instagram. Tweet an encouraging word to the universe. Take the power of God’s grace  to a powerless world.  If there is one thing we know, it is how to turn things around.  We have lived through national tragedies, divisive wars, space exploration, and cultural revolutions…..And through it all, we have learned to trust in Jesus; we have learned to trust in God.  Share that trust. Share your story. Risk a little, and receive a lot. Sixty and beyond is another opportunity for personal involvement and growth .  Everything we have learned through education, experience, and observation is the right mixture for world-changing and contagious service.

I have decided that instead of a bucket list, I will have a balloon list.  I intend to live each day as though I am prepared to fly away. Soaring! Giving it my all! Taking each day a little higher!   Let’s soar in our sixties.  After all, the sky is the limit!