My daughter is a dancer. This weekend she is performing in a wonderful ballet called “The Battle for Lucinda’s Heart.” Yesterday I was in my yard and I walked by the roses – they were fabulous in red, pink, and yellow – and I decided to take some to give to Sarah after the performance. After carefully looking at all of them, I chose a stem of simple yellow roses. There was a mature bloom and several small buds, and something about the old fashioned look of it appealed to me. Sarah’s artistic temperament is sometimes hard to predict, but she likes to be different and somehow the simplicity felt right. Cutting them proved to be a bit tricky though, as I discovered there were thorns not only along the stem, but even under the leaves. I wrapped the whole thing up in a damp paper towel and a plastic bag so there would be a way to hold it without getting stabbed, and off my niece and I went to the opening matinee performance.
The place fills up quickly, so we got there early to wait in line and get a good seat. Other patrons had flowers too… big fancy bouquets for the most part. Hmm. That’s ok, my flower was much more personal. We went in and sat down and waited some more. I looked around at the packed auditorium, and then I looked down at my one mature rose. It was wilting. Well, whatever. Didn’t matter. The lights went out, the curtain rose, and we were whisked into the world of the story. Intermission came and people got up to stretch and talk. As I chatted with my niece I noticed my rose was positively limp. The thing was just dead, no way around it. Dang. This particular child does have a fascination with dead things, after all. Maybe it would be ok - as long as all those people with giant bouquets didn’t see it.
The performance ended and we walked around back to wait for Sarah. Thankfully, the adoring public stayed in the lobby so I didn’t have to look at those huge, living flowers anymore. My single dead rose didn’t look quite so bad with nothing to compare it to. Sarah came out wearing her tacky backstage clothes and that helped. Giving her a dead flower actually sort of looked in keeping with the way she was dressed, and at one point she had even been an evil shadow on stage… at least she wasn’t wearing her fancy courtier-at-the-ball costume at this moment.
I looked at my daughter and I was so proud of her, of her performance, of her hard work, of the courage to get up on that stage and dance and smile. And all I had to give her was a dead flower with thorns. It was sad.
Being a parent is like that. Even with time and care, all I have to give to my kids amounts to nothing more than a dead flower, unless God breathes life into me and into what I have. I have nothing on my own to give, the only thing I have of value is God. Am I giving God to my kids? or is it just dead flowers and thorns?
Heavenly Father, give life to my parenting. Use me to pass Your Spiritual Life to my kids. Let Your Light and Life shine through me into them, and from them into their future children. Oh God, turn my dead flowers and thorns into a life of beauty and grace. Oh yeah, and God, help my husband find a nice bouquet for today! Amen.
©Rebecca A Givens, 05/09/10